Sport and Recreation-Related Head Injuries Treated in the Emergency Department

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ObjectiveHead injury (HI) in sport is common and can have serious consequences. This study examines the epidemiology of sport/recreational (SR)-related HI presenting to the emergency department (ED).DesignRetrospective review of medical records.SettingFive EDs in the Capital Health Region (Edmonton) located in the province of Alberta, Canada.PatientsAll persons in a 1-year period reporting to the EDs with an HI. HI was defined as IC9-CM coded skull fracture, loss of consciousness, or concussion.Main Outcome MeasuresHospitalization, utilization of diagnostic testing, and discharge destination.ResultsIn total, 10,877 (3%) of 288,948 ED encounters were for sports and recreational injuries; 358 (3%) were for HI. Males (71%) were more frequently injured; patients < 20 years old were involved in 66% of all HI cases. The highest proportion of HI occurred during ice hockey (21%), cycling (13%), and playground-related activities (8%). 9% of HI were hospitalized (versus 4% admission rate for other SR injuries; p < 0.01).ConclusionsThese results demonstrate the utility of an ED-based injury registry and indicate that patients with HI presenting to the ED from SR activities are common. These injuries appear to be more severe than other types of SR injuries treated in the ED.

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