HS Sports Shoulder Injuries More Likely in Boys

Player-to-player contact in competition behind almost 60% of cases, study finds

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MONDAY, Jan. 26, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Male high school athletes in the United States are more likely than girls to suffer shoulder injuries.

The researchers looked at football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball.

Overall, shoulder injuries accounted for just 8 percent of all injuries suffered by high school athletes. However, shoulder injuries were fairly common in predominately male sports such as baseball (18 percent of all injuries), wrestling (18 percent), and football (12 percent). Boys had higher shoulder injury rates than girls, particularly in soccer and baseball/softball.

Shoulder injuries were three times more likely to occur during competition than in practice.

Player-to-player contact was associated with almost 60 percent of high-school athletes' shoulder injuries. The most common shoulder injuries included sprains and strains (37 percent), dislocations and separations (24 percent), contusions (12 percent), and fractures (7 percent).

Six percent of shoulder injuries required surgery, and dislocations and separations accounted for more than half of all shoulder surgeries.

"Wrestling shoulder injuries were most likely to require surgery, with almost one in 10 requiring such procedures," study co-author Dawn Comstock, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said in a hospital news release.

"Even more importantly, in all sports, almost one in four athletes missed at least three weeks of the season following a shoulder injury. This underscores the importance of preventing shoulder injuries before they occur," said Comstock, a faculty member at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The study, published online in the Journal of Athletic Training, involved an analysis of data from the 2005-2007 National High School Sports Injury Surveillance System.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about shoulder injuries.

SOURCE: Nationwide Children's Hospital, news release, Jan. 26, 2009

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