From the time that we’re young until the end of our lives, we’re
most likely to injure ourselves while engaged in sports or
recreational activities in a simple way.
We fall down.
That’s one of the main takeaways from a newly released
CDC study that documents sports- and recreation-related
injuries. Every year, there are about 8.6 million of these
injuries requiring medical attention in the US. About half are
treated at doctor’s offices or clinics instead of emergency rooms
More than a quarter of those injuries, 27.9%, are caused by
falls. Other common injury causes include overexertion, “being
struck by or against a person or object,” and injuries sustained
in transportation related to sports or recreation. These are each
responsible for somewhere between 12% and 17% of sports injuries.
The most common actual injuries are strains or sprains (41%),
broken bones (20%), and bruises or superficial injuries (19%).
Brain injuries like concussions represent only about 4.5% of the
What’s perhaps most interesting about the study is the way that
the breakdown of injuries by age and gender tells the common
stories of our lives.
Kids ages 5-14 are most likely to hurt themselves on a playground
or engaged in “general exercise,” the sort of running around you
might imagine for young kids. For ages 15-24, when many of us are
in high school and college, team sports become common — this is
where you see basketball, soccer, and football injuries make
their main appearance, especially for males. After age 25, those
sports become less common and people become more likely to hurt
themselves generally working out, running, biking, or while
engaged in water sports.
Injuries can be serious, especially for older people, but when
all the benefits of exercise, the occasional sprain or strain
is probably worth it. Just make sure to get anything treated if
you get hurt so you can get moving again soon.