Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New CDC Study First to Present National Outdoor Recreational Injury Estimates

Nearly 213,000 treated in emergency departments annually-- more than
half of injuries among young people ages 10-24.

Almost 213,000 people were treated each year in emergency departments
for outdoor recreational injuries from 2004 to 2005, according to a
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in the journal
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. Of those injured, about 109,000
(51.5 percent) were young people between the ages of 10 and 24.

For both men and women of all ages, the most common injuries were
fractures (27.4 percent) and sprains (23.9 percent). Of these, most
injuries were to the arms or legs (52 percent) or to the head or neck
(23.3 percent). Overall, 6.5 percent of outdoor injuries treated were
diagnosed as traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Researchers found that snowboarding (25.5 percent), sledding (10.8
percent), and hiking (6.3 percent) were associated with the highest
percentage of injuries requiring emergency department visits.

"Participation in outdoor recreation is increasingly popular in the
United States," said Arlene Greenspan, Dr. PH and co-author of the
study. "The good news is that there are ways to help stay safe while
having healthy fun outdoors. For example, by wearing the appropriate
helmet for snowboarding, snowmobiling, sledding and rock climbing, you
can reduce your risk of having a head injury, which could become a
traumatic brain injury. Helmets are one piece of equipment that can
have a critical, positive impact."

The study points out that wilderness injury prevention begins with
planning, preparation, and problem anticipation. Outdoor adventurers
can help prevent injuries by:

* Maintaining their levels of fitness, knowing their skill levels
and experience, and not exceeding their limits.
* Checking and maintaining their equipment and replacing if
* Carrying a first-aid kit (and, if appropriate for the situation,
a two-way communication device.)
* Alerting others about where they are going.

"We encourage people of all ages to enjoy recreational activities to
stay healthy and fit," said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of the CDC
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "With proper planning
and preparation, you can anticipate potential problems and reduce
possible injuries and long-term consequences."

For more information about CDC's prevention efforts, please link to
www.cdc.gov/injury. For a full copy of the study, please visit

Department of Health and Human Services

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