This review summarizes information on the rate of injury among adolescents who participate in specific sports or recreational activities. Injury-related mortality is high among adolescents, accounting for over 75% of the deaths occurring among those between 15 and 19 years of age, with about 5% of these deaths attributed to sports injuries. Several difficulties were encountered in conducting this review. There was no standard definition for injury, resulting in widely diverse operational definitions. The underlying denominator and time period used to obtain rates also varied widely. In spite of these difficulties, several sports were identified as particularly dangerous due to the nature of the injury: football for males and gymnastics for females. Consistent injury definitions and larger prospective studies are needed to confirm these rates and to identify risk factors.
Caroline A. Macera is with the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Wilma Wooten is with the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, CA 92037.