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Gym Class Injuries Up 150 Percent
Date:8/3/2009

Lack of movement skills increase the risk of trouble, expert says,,

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Just as many schools are ramping up physical education programs to battle the childhood obesity epidemic, the number of kids being injured during gym class has risen dramatically, Ohio State University researchers report.

In fact, between 1997 and 2007, the annual number of injuries related to physical education (PE) increased 150 percent -- from 24,000 in 1997 to about 62,000 in 2007, the scientists said.

"We don't have an answer as to why injuries are increasing," said lead researcher Lara McKenzie, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.

"I don't think it's because more people are participating in PE," she said. "From all accounts, participation is down over the last couple of decades, and [there's been] only a slight increase in the past couple of years."

The report is published online Aug. 3 in Pediatrics.

For the study, McKenzie's team used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to gather information on PE-related injuries. During the 11 years of the study, 405,305 children and adolescents were treated in emergency departments for injuries stemming from their PE classes, the researchers found.

"Most of the patients, about 98 percent of the cases, were seen and released," McKenzie said. "Of those who were hospitalized, about 75 percent were boys."

Almost 70 percent of the injuries happened during running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer or gymnastics, she said.

Injuries differed for boys and girls, she noted. Boys were more likely to be injured on the head, during collisions with other people and during group activities. Girls were more apt to suffer strains and sprains to th
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