News – ATs instrumental in study of stress fractures

17 Feb

Bloomberg.com – There are around 7,000 ATs working in the high school setting according to the NATA membership stats for Dec., 2010.  Those of us who have worked in the setting for many years can tell you the incidence of overuse injuries is at epidemic proportions.  This is especially true of young female runners.

Since ATs work with athletes on a daily basis and get to see close to 100% of the injuries in the high school level, researches know that these ATs are valuable research tools.  I know I am consistently asked to take injury rate surveys, dissertational surveys, opinion surveys, helmet study surveys, etc.  I am glad to help by taking a few minutes to take these surveys, most online.

One such important study is this stress fracture study.

Between 2007 and 2010, Goodwillie and his team tracked the frequency and nature of stress fractures among student athletes enrolled at 57 participating high schools.

At each school, athletic trainers were asked to fill out information forms outlining each young athlete’s sport history, skill level, training intensity, dietary routine and fracture details.

Among the 230 fractures in evidence among 189 athletes (74 boys, 115 girls), the tibia (shinbone) was the most likely to be affected, making up nearly half of all cases. Nearly 20 percent of cases involved the metatarsal bones of the feet, while the fibula (smaller bone behind tibia) was affected in 10 percent of fractures, followed by fractures to the pelvic bone, hind foot and femur (thighbone) .

More than half (53 percent) of the fractures were experienced by varsity athletes, the researchers noted.

Among male athletes, track was the biggest culprit, accounting for more than a quarter of fractures. This was followed by football (23 percent), and cross-country (19 percent).

Among female athletes, track was also the number one source for fractures (28 percent), trailed by cross-country (23 percent).

Gender differences emerged. Boys tended to get injured at a slighter older age than girls, and at a higher body-mass index, the study found. And while boys undertook more intense weight-lifting routines, they also tended to sleep more than their female counterparts, giving bones more time to heal.

“Although there hasn’t been anything out there before that specifically looked at athletes under the age of 18, these findings definitely go along with the adult data we have,” Goodwillie noted. “Basically, the fractures we see are related to running sports like cross-country, track and field, basketball and soccer, in both males and females. You don’t see it in sports such as wrestling and swimming, the non-impact type sports.”

Because injured athletes often have daily access to ATs, they are very valuable resources to study injury trends.

Source

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