Background Injuries sustained in sports and leisure time has been established as a leading cause of the paediatric injury burden in western countries. Injuries reported are mostly traumatic, but there is a growing concern about overuse injuries in children.
Objective The objectives of this prospective cohort study were to report the incidence, prevalence and duration of traumatic and overuse injuries during a period of 2.5 years and to estimate the injury incidence rates.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting 10 public schools in the municipality of Svendborg, Denmark.
Participants A total of 1 259 school children aged 6–12 years participating in the Childhood Health, Activity, and Motor Performance School Study Denmark.
Risk factor assessment School children were surveyed each week during a period of 2.5 years. Injuries were reported by parents answering mobile phone text questions on a weekly basis (response rate 96.2%) and prospectively diagnosed by clinicians. Physical activity was measured from text messaging and accelerometer assessments.
Main outcome measurements Overuse and traumatic musculoskeletal extremity injuries.
Results A total number of 1229 injuries were diagnosed with a weekly mean injury incidence and prevalence being 1.2% and 4.6% respectively. Twice as many overuse as traumatic extremity injuries were diagnosed with mean injury durations being 5.3 and 4.4 weeks respectively. Overuse injury incidence rate was 1.03 injuries per 1000 physical activity units (95% CI 0.95–1.10). Traumatic incidence rate was 0.56 injuries per 1000 physical activity units (95% CI 0.51–0.61).
Conclusions This study has added a wider perspective to the area concerning musculoskeletal extremity injuries in school children by including overuse injuries. The understanding of injury epidemiology in children is fundamental to acknowledge and ensure the appropriate prevention and treatment in relation to the growing and physically active child.