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Skatepark injuries can incur economic pain
Date:12/19/2007

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 19, 2007 Anyone heading out to the local skatepark with dreams of becoming the next Tony Hawk may want to take some precautions.

Researchers from the Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention at the University of California, Irvine have found that the economic aches attached to a skatepark-related injury can be as great as the physical pains.

Dr. Federico Vaca and colleagues tracked emergency room patients at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., who injured themselves at a nearby skatepark and found that the average cost for each injury was nearly $3,200. Medical costs comprised two-thirds of this amount, and lost wages accounted for the other third for both patients and their families. The study appears in Clinical Medicine & Research.

With skateboardings popularity remaining high, the economic impact of these injuries affects more and more people and their families, said Vaca, a clinical professor of emergency medicine. Between 1997 and 2005 across the country, emergency room visits by people with skateboard-related injuries rose from over 48,000 to more than 112,000, and that number continues to rise.

The researchers found that economic impact was greatest on working adults older than 25, who, on average, missed an average of 17 days of work because of their injuries. Vaca noted that one patient lost his job because he missed too much work. As a result from loss of income, he was evicted from his apartment. Another subject, who tuned guitars and pianos by trade, suffered a forearm fracture and was fired because he could not work.

Clearly, for adults who suffer injuries while skateboarding, the economic impact can go significantly beyond the medical costs, Vaca said.

A little more than half of the patients surveyed were between the ages of 8 and 19. While lost wages werent a factor for this group, the impact was felt more on the entire family. In addition to students missing
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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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