Sports-Related Craniofacial Injuries Among Pediatric and Adolescent Females: A National Electronic Injury Surveillance System Database Study

Minji Kim, Ellie Moeller, Seth R Thaller
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2021 March 1

BACKGROUND: Number of female athletes continues to exponentially increase in all sports; however, available literature detailing craniofacial injuries remains scarce. Compared to male athletes, female athletes may experience different types of injuries. These may be related to sex differences such as craniofacial pain and dimensions. Thus, this study assesses the type of sport and craniofacial injuries that pediatric and adolescent female athletes sustain.

METHODS: National Electronic Injury Surveillance System was analyzed for all hospital admissions for young female athletes (5-24 years old) experiencing a sports-related craniofacial injury. These included contusions and abrasions, lacerations, fractures, and hematomas. Following sports were analyzed for craniofacial injury: basketball, golf, soccer, ice skating, swimming, softball, horseback riding, volleyball, field hockey, and football.

RESULTS: Most of the sports-related craniofacial injury occurred in female athletes who are between 10 and 19 years old. Across all age groups, softball (34.9%), basketball (28.1%), and soccer (15.6%) caused majority of the craniofacial injuries. The most common presenting craniofacial injury types were contusions and abrasions as well as lacerations.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for improved protective gear, such as face shields and low-impact balls, especially in softball and basketball. Physicians should consider the differences in female versus male and child versus adult injury pattern when treating female athletes in order to prevent long-term complications, such as scarring and depression. Overall, sports-related craniofacial injuries among female athletes need to be further examined as the epidemiology of their injuries and their health needs are unique.

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