Epiphyseal injuries in athletes

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Athletics play an important role in the lives of our children and adolescents, with more and more participation in an increasing number of contact and noncontact sports by boys and girls. There has been much controversy over participation in contact sports at an early age. Although many reasons have been given, in the final analysis the only valid criticism is that injury can occur. It would be naive for us to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that injuries do not occur. There are definite risks in all types of sports, contact or not, also in any active form of entertainment or play. However, tangible and intangible benefits can be gained from participation in sports.

Much criticism has been leveled against competitive sports at the elementary and junior high levels. Although it had been claimed that many epiphyseal injuries occur at this age, the first good study on this subject was not made until 1966 when Larson and McMahan1 reported on 1,338 athletic injuries in their experience. They found that 20% of the injuries occurred in the age group under 14 years, and 40% in the group from 15 to 18 years of age. Sixty percent of the school population was of elementary and junior high school age, 15% in the high school age group, and the greatest number of injuries occurred in the smallest population sample, the high school students. Of these injuries, 6% were epiphyseal in students younger than 15 years. In my study2 of a. . .



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