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Epidemiology of Overuse Injuries in US Secondary School Athletics From 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 Using the National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network Surveillance Program.

CONTEXT: With 8 million annual US high school student-athletes, the epidemiology of sport-related injuries has garnered significant interest. The most recent studies examining overuse injury rates in high school sports were based on data from 2012 to 2013 and, therefore, may not reflect current overuse injury rates in high school sports.

OBJECTIVE: To (1) determine overuse time-loss (TL) and non-time-loss (NTL) injury rates among high school student-athletes using National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network Surveillance Program (NATION-SP) data collected from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 and (2) compare overuse injury rates based on student-athlete sex defined by whether it was a boys' sport or a girls' sport, the sport itself, and the injury location.

DESIGN: Descriptive epidemiology study.

SETTING: Online injury surveillance from 211 high schools (345 individual years of high school data).

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Athletes who participated in secondary school-sponsored boys' or girls' sports.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Boys' and girls' overuse injury data from the NATION-SP during the 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 school years were analyzed. Overuse injuries were identified using a combination of the reported injury mechanism and diagnosis. Time-loss injuries resulted in restriction from participation beyond the day of injury; NTL injuries did not result in restriction from participation beyond the day of injury or involved no lost time due to the injury. Injury counts, rates, and rate ratios (IRRs) were reported with 95% CIs.

RESULTS: The total overuse injury rate was 5.3/10 000 athlete-exposures (AEs; 95% CI = 5.1, 5.7), the NTL overuse injury rate was 3.4/10 000 AEs (95% CI = 3.1, 3.6), and the TL overuse injury rate was 2.0/10 000 AEs (95% CI = 1.8, 2.2). The overuse injury rate was greater in girls' sports compared with boys' sports (IRR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.7, 2.1). The highest rates of overuse injury were observed in girls' cross-country (19.2/10 000 AEs; 95% CI = 15.0, 24.2), girls' track and field (16.0/10 000 AEs; 95% CI = 13.5, 18.8), and girls' field hockey (15.1/10 000 AEs; 95% CI = 10.2, 21.6). Overuse injury rates were higher for the lower extremity than the upper extremity (IRR = 5.7; 95% CI = 4.9, 6.7) and for the lower extremity than the trunk and spine (IRR = 8.9; 95% CI = 7.3, 10.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of the overuse injury risk, as well as prevention and intervention recommendations, is necessary and should be specifically targeted at cross-country, field hockey, and track and field athletes.

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