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A prospective cohort study on physical activity and sports-related injuries in 10–12-year-old children
  1. E Verhagen,
  2. D Collard,
  3. M Chin A Paw,
  4. W van Mechelen
  1. Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to E Verhagen, Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; e.verhagen{at}


Objectives: To describe the incidence and severity of injuries resulting from physical education, sports and leisure time physical activity (PA) in 10–12-year-old children.

Design: This was a prospective cohort study conducted in primary schools, with 995 children aged 10–12 years old as participants. Individual weekly exposure was estimated from baseline and follow-up questionnaires. Exposure to physical education (PE) classes was equal in all schools. An injury was recorded if it occurred during either PE class, leisure time PA, or sports, and caused the child to at least stop the current activity. Injuries were reported within 1 week of injury onset. The main outcome measure was injury incidence density.

Results: During the school year a total of 119 injuries were reported by 104 children, resulting in an overall injury incidence density (ID) of 0.48 per 1000 h of exposure (95% CI 0.38 to 0.57). Injury ID was lowest for leisure time PA, followed by PE and sports, respectively. Of all injuries, 40% required medical treatment and 14% resulted in 1 or more days of absence from regular school activities. In general for girls a higher injury ID was reported than for boys, mainly caused by a twofold higher risk during leisure time PA.

Conclusions: Next to specific areas of preventive interest it was found that in this specific age group, girls require special attention as they seem to be at higher injury risk than boys.

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  • Funding This study was funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, grant number 62200033.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.