A 15-year regional emergency department study of youth sport and recreational injuries


  • Mark A. Romanick University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND, USA
  • Thomas Schuch University of North Dakota, Department of Education, Health and Behavior Studies, Grand Forks, ND, USA
  • Brett J. Goodwin Flemming College, Applied Research and Innovation, Lindsay, ON, Canada
  • Carma Hanson Safe Kids Grand Forks and Altru Health System, Grand Forks, ND, USA
  • Dennis Caine University of North Dakota, Department of Education, Health and Behavior Studies, Grand Forks, ND, USA




sports, sport and recreation injury, children, youth, emergency department, hospital


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine frequency and distribution of sports- and recreation-related injuries (SRIs) affecting children and adolescents who visited a northern tier regional medical center emergency department during a 15-year period.
Material and methods: A descriptive epidemiologic design was employed to retrospectively examine age, gender, month and year of injury, location of injury, sport/recreational activity, mechanism of injury, type and severity of injury, hospital admission and length of stay. Frequency of reported injuries were compared in categories of single factors using Chi-square tests of homogeneity. The impact of risk factors – gender, age class, and sport/activity – on incidence ratios were analyzed via Poisson regression. All statistical analyses were run in R.
Results: Findings heretofore unreported or inconsistent with previous emergency department (ED) studies include a peak injury occurrence of SRIs during September; a preponderance of head/neck injuries and fractures and a higher percent of admitted patients; frequent occurrence of ice hockey injuries; increased severity of injury during ages 10-14; and a trend during 2000-2014 showing increased injury rate of various types of recreational injuries. Findings consistent with previous ED studies included variable distribution of injuries by age, gender and sport/activity; increased frequency of SRIs during ages 12-15 years and during the warmer months of the year; and trends of increased frequency of SRIs affecting females, increased injury rate of closed head injuries, and decreased occurrence of bicycle injuries during the study period. Further to these findings, several suggestions are made to inform and guide local injury prevention efforts and further research.
Conclusions: Our study results provide information on a region-specific occurrence and distribution of SRIs in a northern tier hospital catchment area that can be valuable to guide regional injury prevention efforts and further research to evaluate specific patterns identified and success of prevention efforts.


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How to Cite

Romanick, M. A. ., Schuch, T., Goodwin, B. J., Hanson, C., & Caine, D. (2023). A 15-year regional emergency department study of youth sport and recreational injuries. Health Promotion & Physical Activity, 21(4), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.55225/hppa.471



Original article