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Longitudinal cohort study of injury type, settings, treatment and costs in British Columbia youth, 2003–2013
  1. Bonnie Leadbeater1,
  2. Alejandra Contreras1,
  3. Fahra Rajabali2,
  4. Alex Zheng2,
  5. Emilie Beaulieu2,
  6. Ian Pike2,3
  1. 1 Psychology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2 BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3 Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bonnie Leadbeater, Psychology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada; bleadbea{at}


Background In 2010 in British Columbia (BC), Canada, total injury costs per capita were higher among youth aged 15–24 years than in any other age group. Injury prevention efforts have targeted injuries with high mortality (transportation injuries) or morbidity (concussions). However, the profile and health costs of common youth injuries (types, locations, treatment choices and prevention strategies) and how these change from adolescence to young adulthood is not known.

Methods Participants (n=662) were a randomly recruited cohort of BC youth, aged 12–18, in 2003. They were followed biennially across a decade (six assessments).

Results Serious injuries (defined as serious enough to limit normal daily activities) in the last year were reported by 27%–41% of participants at each assessment. Most common injuries were sprains or strains, broken bones, cuts, punctures or animal bites, and severe bruises. Most occurred when playing a sport or from falling. Estimated total direct cost of treatment per injury was approximately $2500. In addition, 25% experienced serious injuries at three or more assessments, indicating possible differences that warrents further investigation.

Conclusions The occurence and health cost of common injuries to youth and young adults are underestimated in this study but are nevertheless substantial. Ongoing surveillence, awareness raising, and prevention efforts may be needed to reduce these costs.

  • costs
  • youth
  • adolescent
  • sports / leisure facility

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Twitter @AS_Contreras, @IanPike4

  • Contributors BL conceived the presented idea and took the lead in writing the manuscript. AC performed the computations associated with types and mechanisms of injuries. FR, EB, IP and AZ performed all analyses associated with costs of injuries. All authors discussed the results, provided critical feedback and contributed to the final manuscript.

  • Funding The Victoria Healthy Youth Survey study and this research were supported by grants from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (88476; 79917; 192583; 130500; SHI-155410).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.