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High School Sports Beneficial but Risky to Students' Hands and Wrists

11/21/2017

‚ÄčResearch in the December 2017 Pediatrics suggest better efforts are needed to prevent hand and wrist injuries in high school athletics, which can sideline students from play as well as schoolwork. Authors of "Hand and Wrist Injuries among US High School Athletes" (published online Nov. 21), said hurt hands and wrists accounted for 8.5 percent of the nearly 79,000 injuries reported by U.S. high school athletic trainers between the 2005-06 and 2015-16 school years. The most common hand/wrist injuries were fractures (45.0 percent), contusions (11.6 percent), and ligament sprains (9.0 percent). Among all hand/wrist injuries reported, most resulted from contact with another player (40.9 percent), contact with playing apparatus such as sticks, bats or balls (30.3 percent), and contact with the playing surface (25.1 percent). Football was the only sport in which player-player contact resulted in more than half of all injuries (61.0 percent). Contact with apparatus resulted in at least half of all injuries in six girl's sports: field hockey (81.0 percent), lacrosse (69.2 percent), softball (67.7 percent), gymnastics (66.7 percent), volleyball (62.2 percent) and basketball (51.4 percent), but only three boys' sports: volleyball (62.2 percent), lacrosse (51.5 percent) and baseball (51,9 percent). Sports with the highest proportion of hand/wrist injuries needing surgical repair were boys' track and field (20.0 percent), ice hockey (18.2 percent) and boys' lacrosse (12.0 percent).  The benefits to students of sports participation likely continue to outweigh the risks, study authors say. But with the importance of hand and wrist dexterity for most daily functions, including writing, typing and other tasks involved with schoolwork, they said more sport-specific preventive efforts are needed.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds