Street Sledding Riskier For Brain Injury
- Author: Kathryn Stewart
- Author: Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Although skiing and snow boarding are known to be risky sports, even sledding, especially when it involves kids, can lead to serious injuries.
A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that over a 10-year period, (1997-2007), an estimated 229,023 children under the age of 19 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms hospital for sledding-related injuries. That's an average of more than 20,000 cases each year.
The study, which appears in next month's issue of Pediatrics, found the most common injuries from sledding were fractures (26 percent), followed by cuts and bruises (25 percent). The study also found that the majority of injuries occurred during a collision (51 percent), and those collisions more than likely resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) . Overall, the head was the most injured body part (34 percent of reported injuries). Even though most of the injuries happened at a sports or recreation area, patients who were injured while sledding on a street or highway were more likely to suffer injuries to the head, get a diagnosed TBI and hospitalized than were patients injured in other locations.
"Two of the main factors that contribute to sledding-related injuries are the environment and locale," said study co-author, Dr, Lara McKenzie, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "To reduce the risk of injury, sledding areas should be clear of trees and other obstacles and should have sufficient run-out areas away from streets. In addition, sledding on streets and highways should be avoided to prevent collisions with motor vehicles and other traffic."
Study researchers also noted concern when it came to motorized vehicles pulling sleds. That's because more than one-third of the injuries suffered while being pulled by a vehicle were fractures.
"Our findings indicate that the prevalence of this activity may be much greater and the practice more common than previously thought," said McKenzie. "Given the potential for serious injury, children should never ride a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle of any type including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, dirt bikes and lawn mowers."