American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release May 03, 2004

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  Research presented at the AMSSM Annual Meeting this month expands our knowledge regarding the spectrum and rate of acute injury at large scale track and field competitions. Data from a 3-year injury surveillance study at the Penn Relay Carnival was presented by Marc Cohen, MD, and Jonathan Drezner, MD. The study monitored acute injuries in over 48,000 athletes participating in the event from 2002-2004.

The study observed an overall injury rate of 9 injuries per 1,000 athletes, with 12% of the injuries, or 1.1 injuries per 1,000 participants being of major severity, requiring prolonged observation or intervention by emergency medical services or a physician. Injury severity varied with a broad spectrum of both medical and orthopedic injuries – ranging from nosebleeds to ventricular tachycardia, and from sprains to complete fractures. Hamstring muscle injury was the most common orthopedic injury and represented 74% of all muscle strains. There was no difference in injury rates between sprint and distance runners. The most injurious events included the 3000m steeplechase, 110m hurdles, 100m hurdles, and the pole vault. No difference in overall injury rate was observed between men and women; however, high school girls appeared to be at higher risk – almost 2.5 times that of their male peers – to suffer a severe medical injury (syncope and shortness of breath being most common).

These data suggest that medical coverage for large scale track and field events should be prepared to see a wide range of medical and orthopedic injuries of varying severity. A minor injury can be expected in 1 out of every 120 participants, and a major injury in 1 out of every 900 participants. Events with more than 1,000 athletes should strongly consider having a sports medicine physician on site given the risk of major injury.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by a group of physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals, and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional, and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes (“weekend athletes”). AMSSM is comprised of over 900 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 11639 Earnshaw, Overland Park, KS 66210, (913) 327-1415 or .

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

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4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
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Phone: 913.327.1415

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