The presentation is based on a December 2009 article entitled “Motocross Morbidity: Economic Cost and Injury Distribution in Children,” published in the December 2009 Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. The retrospective study of 299 cases revealed nearly one-half of the patients required hospitalization, and an additional one-third required surgery.
“When reviewing these cases, we saw very high levels of hospitalization and surgery, and we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg when looking at motocross-related injuries,” says Amy McIntosh, M.D., Mayo Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “In a situation where half of the patients are hospitalized and another third require surgical intervention, we know we have a problem on our hands. We need to learn more about this issue — to find out how many motocross athletes are suffering injury, why they are being injured, and what we can do to prevent the injuries.”
Motocross is an organized sport that is growing in popularity nationwide. The study reviewed patients 17 years old or younger with injuries sustained while using off-road, two-wheeled motorcycles. The investigators reviewed type, severity and mechanism of injury as well as charges billed for medical care. Both recreational and competitive motocross activities were included. Of the 299 cases reviewed, hospital admission was required in 141 instances, 20 patients required intensive care unit admission, and surgery was performed in 91 cases. The average medical bill for these patients was $14,947.
“When football or hockey players suffer multiple losses of consciousness, there are ‘return to play’ guidelines in place. We don’t yet see that in motocross,” says Dr. McIntosh. “As more people, including kids, become involved with motocross, it’s important for families to understand how to properly use safety equipment, and to understand the significant medical care costs if an injury occurs. We’re not discouraging people from participating in motocross, but we want participants and families to do what they can to avoid injury,” she adds.
The researchers will next conduct a prospective study to learn more about the prevalence of injuries, including those not requiring transport to a Level I Trauma Center, such as Mayo Clinic. Other study investigators include Anthony Stans, M.D.; William Shaughnessy, M.D.; Mark Dekutoski, M.D.; Michael Quinn; and Annalise Larson, M.D., all from Mayo Clinic.
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