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Softball injuries treated in US EDs, 1994 to 2010

  • John C. Birchak
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

    The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Lynne M. Rochette
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

    US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Fort Belvoir, VA, USA
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  • Gary A. Smith
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205. Tel.: +1 614 355 5850; fax: +1 614 355 5897.
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

    The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

    Child Injury Prevention Alliance, Columbus, OH, USA
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Published:April 19, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2013.02.039

      Abstract

      Background

      Softball is a popular participant sport in the United States. This study investigated the epidemiology of softball injuries with comparisons between children and adults.

      Methods

      Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for patients 7 years and older treated in an emergency department (ED) for a softball injury from 1994 through 2010 were analyzed.

      Results

      An estimated 2107823 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1736417-2479229) patients were treated in US EDs for a softball injury during the 17-year study period. The annual number of injuries decreased by 23.0% from 1994 to 2010 (P < .001); however, during the last 6 years of the study, injuries increased by 11.7% (P = .008). The annual rate of softball injuries increased significantly during the study period (P = .035). The most commonly injured body regions were the hand/wrist (22.2%) and face (19.3%). Being hit by a ball was the most common mechanism of injury (52.4%) and accounted for most of face (89.6%) and head (75.7%) injuries. Injuries associated with running (relative risk, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.97-2.82) and diving for a ball (relative risk, 4.61; 95% CI, 3.50-6.09) were more likely to occur among adult than pediatric patients.

      Conclusions

      To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate softball injuries using a nationally representative sample. Softball is a common source of injury among children and adults. Increased efforts are needed to promote safety measures, such as face guards, mouth guards, safety softballs, and break-away bases, to decrease these injuries.
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