Epidemiology of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries in young athletes in United States
Over the past several decades there has been increased participation in sports by children and adolescents at earlier ages in the United States, as well as more intense participation and specialization in sports at very early ages. This trend has also partly contributed to the patterns of injuries seen in young athletes, and especially in recent years, injuries previously seen in mature athletes are being seen in young athletes. Overall, the vast majority of sport-related musculoskeletal injuries in children and adolescents are due to repetitive overuse and acute macrotrauma is less frequently seen in young athletes. Epidemiological data on sports injuries are provided by several national surveys. Investigators have used different methods to define sports injuries and the most widely used definition is based on athlete-exposure time. Certain aspects related to adolescent growth and development modulate the pattern of injuries. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries seen in children and adolescents.