Sport-related hand and wrist injuries are common, however the risk of injuries in certain sports and their likelihood of requiring surgery are unknown. We sought to characterize hand injuries in collegiate athletes using a large national database. Materials and Methods:
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was designed using data from the 2004-2015 National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program database. Data was stratified by injuries sustained, type of sport and activity, mean loss of activity time following the injury, male and female sport and the need for surgery following injury. Descriptive statistics were performed to examine the association between sports, event type and gender. p<0.05 were considered significant. Results:
During competition, football (31.75 per 10,000 athlete exposures) and ice hockey (16.77 per 10,000 athlete exposures) were most commonly associated with hand injuries in men and women's sports, respectively. In every sport except women's gymnastics, injuries were more common during competition rather than practice (p<0.001). Ligamentous injury was the most commonly sustained injury overall (1.479 per 10,000 athlete exposures), and metacarpal fracture was the most commonly sustained fracture (0.329 per 10,000 exposures). Injuries sustained during men's wrestling (14.08 days) and women's gymnastics (10.22 days) incurred the most time lost from sport due to injuries. Surgery for hand injuries were most commonly required for men's lacrosse (0.84 per 10,000 athlete exposures) and women's gymnastics (0.53 per 10,000 athlete exposures). Conclusions:
Hand injuries are common among collegiate athletes. Male athletes experience injuries with more frequency and severity. Injuries occur more commonly during competition. While the majority of injuries are minor and do not require surgery, certain sports confer much higher risk of significant injury requiring surgical intervention.
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