Dance-Related Injuries On The Rise In Children
February 12, 2013

Annual Number Of Dance-related Injuries Has Increased 37 Percent

[ Watch the Video: Increase in Dance-Related Injuries in Children ]

April Flowers for - Your Universe Online

If you have ever been to the ballet or a dance recital, you know dance is a beautiful form of expression. However, it is very physically taxing and strenuous on the body, especially for children and teens.

A group of researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital studied dance-related injuries among children and adolescents ages 3 to 19 from 1991 to 2007. An estimated 113,000 children and adolescents were treated for dance-related injuries in US emergency departments during the 17-year study period.

The findings of this study, published recently in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, show the annual number of dance-related injuries increased 37 percent - from 6,175 injuries in 1991 to 8,477 injuries in 2007. The scientists found sprains and/or strains (52 percent) to be the most common types of injury and falls (45 percent) were the most common cause of injury. Forty percent of injured dancers were between 15 and 19 years of age.

"We believe this could be due to adolescent dancers getting more advanced in their skills, becoming more progressed in their careers and spending more time training and practicing," said Kristin Roberts MS, MPH, senior research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "We encourage children to keep dancing and exercising. But it is important that dancers and their instructors take precautions to avoid sustaining injuries."

"Safety precautions such as staying well-hydrated, properly warming up and cooling down, concentrating on the proper technique and getting plenty of rest can help prevent dance-related injuries," said Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's and also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Working globally to reduce and prevent injury-related pediatric death and disabilities, The Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital uses innovative research to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

Because of the rise in dance-related injuries in recent years, the Sports Medicine experts at Nationwide Children's — who treat the types of injuries seen in performing arts and dance athletes — have developed a number of services to address the needs of the young dancer.

"Adolescents are still growing into their bodies and as such often develop imbalances that can lead to injury," said Eric Leighton, ATC, an athletic trainer in Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children's. "It's critical that intervention and injury prevention be made available to them to address balance, strength and functional body control deficits as they grow. From pointe readiness screens to injury prevention programming, our team has a comprehensive approach to address the needs of these athletes."

The study is the first to use a nationally representative sample to examine dance-related injuries in the US. The team obtained data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS compiles and provides information on consumer product-related and sports and recreation-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the US.