Injuries and Concussions Among Children, Ages 5-11, Playing Sports in Recreational Leagues in Florida

Principal Investigator: Karen D. Liller, PhD, Professor and AAAS Fellow

Institution: University of South Florida College of Public Health

Title: Injuries and concussions among children, ages 5-11, playing sports in recreational leagues in Florida

Abstract: Although studies have been conducted on the epidemiology and prevention of sports injuries (including concussions) among children in organized settings (such as schools), little to no such data are available on children’s sports injuries from recreational league play.

Aims: The specific research aims include: 1) Conduct an epidemiologic analysis of recreational sports injuries among 1,280 children, ages 5-11 in Florida: 2) pilot test the new computerized pediatric concussion tool from lmPACT Applications, Inc.: and 3) develop evidence-based injury prevention guidelines for this population.

Study Design: This research follows a prospective surveillance design utilizing a large cohort of children, ages, 5-11, who play recreational football, soccer, and baseball/softball in in Florida.

Materials and Methods: Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) will be hired to use High School Reporting Information Online (RIO) (permission has been granted) to capture athletic exposure (number of athlete practices and number of athlete competitions per week), injury (body site, diagnosis, severity, etc) and injury event (mechanism, activity, position/event, field/court location, etc) data weekly throughout the two years of the project. We also will utilize the new Ipad-administered pediatric concussion tool developed by lmPACT Applications, Inc for baseline/follow-up concussion data. Follow up treatment data will also be included in the analysis. We will focus on Hillsborough County athletes since this is the 4th most populous county in the state and one which we have strong partnerships. Such epidemiologic analysis is the necessary first step toward the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based, targeted prevention guidelines that will reduce the number and/or severity of injuries among young children who play sports in recreational leagues.

Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures include frequencies, rates (based on athletic exposures), and risk ratios of sports injuries and the baseline/follow-up concussion averages and standard deviation scores from participants. Analysis of treatment data will be included in the development of injury prevention guidelines.

Significance: This research will allow for the novel collection and analysis of children’s recreational league injury data with related targeted prevention/return to play guidelines