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Recreational injuries among older Americans, 2001
  1. L W Gerson1,
  2. J A Stevens2
  1. 1Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio, USA
  2. 2National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L W Gerson
 Division of Community Health Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, PO Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272-0095, USA;


Objective: To describe the epidemiology of non-fatal recreational injuries among older adults treated in United States emergency departments including national estimates of the number of injuries, types of recreational activities, and diagnoses.

Methods: Injury data were provided by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), a nationally representative subsample of 66 out of 100 NEISS hospitals. Potential cases were identified using the NEISS-AIP definition of a sport and recreation injury. The authors then reviewed the two line narrative to identify injuries related to participation in a sport or recreational activity among men and women more than 64 years old.

Results: In 2001, an estimated 62 164 (95% confidence interval 35 570 to 88 758) persons ≥65 years old were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained while participating in sport or recreational activities. The overall injury rate was 177.3/100 000 population with higher rates for men (242.5/100 000) than for women (151.3/100 000). Exercising caused 30% of injuries among women and bicycling caused 17% of injuries among men. Twenty seven percent of all treated injuries were fractures and women (34%) were more likely than men (21%) to suffer fractures.

Conclusions: Recreational activities were a frequent cause of injuries among older adults. Fractures were common. Many of these injuries are potentially preventable. As more persons engage in recreational activities, applying known injury prevention strategies will help to reduce the incidence of these injuries.

  • aged
  • elderly
  • epidemiology
  • recreational injuries
  • sports injuries
  • CI, confidence interval
  • NEISS-AIP, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program

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  • * Two wheeled off-road powered vehicles including dirt bikes and trail bikes.