Purpose Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States (US). Research is limited, and there are no known studies utilizing a nationally representative data set to analyze lacrosse injury patterns in the youth population over several years. This study sought to describe the epidemiology of lacrosse-related injuries treated in United States (US) hospital emergency departments (EDs).
Methods/Approach We conducted retrospective analysis using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data for youth aged 11–18 years who were treated for lacrosse-related injuries in US EDs from 2000–2016. Based on review of the case narratives, we created and coded a new injury mechanism variable. We generated national estimates from 6,408 cases.
Results An estimated 206 274 lacrosse-related injuries to youths aged 11–18 years were treated in US EDs from 2000–2016. The rate of injuries per 10,000 youths significantly increased from 1.9 in 2000 to 5.3 in 2012 (p<0.0001), followed by significantly decreasing to 3.4 in 2016 (p=0.020). Injury mechanism, body region injured, and diagnosis differed by sex. Boys were 1.62 times (95% CI: 1.25–2.09) as likely to be injured by player-to-player contact. Girls were 2.21 times (95% CI: 1.96–2.49) as likely to have non-contact injuries. Patients were divided into different age groups: 11–12, 13–14, 15–16, and 17–18. As age increased, the percentage of injuries from lacrosse sticks decreased and player-to-player contact increased.
Conclusions Despite additional protective regulations in the sport, injuries still occur and differ by the sex and age of the athlete. This study supports the continuation, modification, and addition of rules aimed to reduce lacrosse injury risk.
Significant and contribution to the field Understanding lacrosse-related injuries is critical as lacrosse-related injuries are a significant source of pediatric injury and ED utilization.
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