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 or hospitals.
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 total.
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 you consider 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.
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