Cycling accidents are the most common cause of sports-related traumatic spine injuries, new study finds

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Accidents involving cycling are by far the most common cause of sports-related traumatic spine injuries (TSIs) in the USA, according to new research published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Blake Hauser (Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA) et al examined data on sports-related traumatic spine injuries (TSIs) to see if different sports activities tend to result in particular injuries.

The Harvard researchers found that accidents involving cycling are by far the most frequent cause of TSIs, followed by accidents due to skiing and snowboarding.

The authors examined data on 80,040 adult cases of sports-related traumatic injuries, focusing specifically on 12,031 cases of sports-related TSIs, which consisted of vertebral bone fractures and/or spinal cord injuries.

Data on all these patients were collected retrospectively from entries made to the National Trauma Data Bank between 2011 and 2014.

A total of 82% of patients with TSIs were male, and 78% were white. Patients with TSIs tended to be slightly older than all patients with sports-related injuries (median ages 48 and 43 years, respectively).

Cycling incidents accounted for 81% of sports-related TSIs, skiing and snowboarding accidents for 12%, aquatic sport and contact sport mishaps for 3% each, and skateboarding and rollerblading accidents for 1%.

Fifteen percent of patients with TSI presented with traumatic injuries to the spinal cord. These cord injuries were most prevalent in patients with aquatic sports–related injuries (49%) and those with contact sports–related injuries (41%).

Among all patients with sports-related TSIs, most injuries were caused by motor vehicle accidents (81%) and by falls (14%). The patients involved in motor vehicle accidents were not inside the vehicle.


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