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In order to supplement the literature that describes individual injuries of the shoulder, carpal tunnel, and back in golfers, we administered a survey to demonstrate the incidence of golfers' injuries and describe the most frequent types. A questionnaire was administered to 1,790 members of the New York State Golf Association (amateur) under age 21. Three hundred sixty-eight players responded. Half of those responding had been struck by a golf ball at least on one occasion (47.6%), and 23% of the injuries were to the head or neck. Male golfers were 2.66 times more likely to be struck by a golf ball than females. Women and golfers with a higher handicap were at an increased risk for upper extremity problems, whereas younger and overweight golfers were more likely to have golf-related back problems. We concluded that golf is associated with a significant morbidity. Repetitious trunk and upper limb motions probably contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. However, an unexpectedly high incidence of trauma from projectile golf balls leads to the conclusion that no amount of stretching or muscular exercise is as important as increased alertness by golfers to decrease this hazard.
John J. Nicholas is with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rush Medical College, Rush Medical Center, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612. Margaret Reidy is with the Physical Medicine Department, Passavant Hospital, and the Department of Orthopedics, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. Denise M. Oleske is with the Department of Health Systems Management, Rush University.