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Severe Injuries From ATV Accidents on the Rise
Date:3/10/2010

Studies found more amputations, spinal injuries among kids who ride them

WEDNESDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies report a high rate of severe injuries -- including amputations, spinal injuries and even death -- among children who ride all-terrain vehicles.

"A spine injury is such a devastating injury for a young person," said Dr. Jeffrey R. Sawyer, an assistant professor of orthopaedics with the Campbell Clinic at the University of Tennessee, and a co-author on both papers.

The same goes for amputations, which, as a result of these types of injuries, have typically been of legs, toes and fingers.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting, in New Orleans.

"ATV [all-terrain vehicle] injuries have been significant; we've been noticing increases for a while," said Dr. Mike Gittelman, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics in the division of emergency medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Gittelman, who was not involved with either study, said ATV-associated fatalities increased nearly 60 percent between 2000 and 2005, while non-fatal injuries rose 48 percent.

Three-wheeled ATVs have been banned (although some do still exist), but four-wheeled, multi-rider ATVs are gaining in popularity and it appears they are not necessarily any safer, the researchers said.

The first set of authors reviewed emergency-room records at a trauma center in California for all patients who had sustained injuries in an off-road vehicle from Jan. 1, 2005 through the end of 2007. There were about 110 patients in total.

People involved in an accident with a multi-rider ATV were more than 10 times as likely to need an amputation as people involved in an accident with a conventional single-rider ATV, the study found.

"It's night and day. If you get injured on one of these it's going to be bad," s
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