On field physician evaluation of high school football injuries

Truxal, B.; Shenker, I.R.; Nussbaum, M.

Pediatric Research 15(4 Part 2): 445


ISSN/ISBN: 0031-3998
DOI: 10.1203/00006450-198104001-00040
Accession: 028827384

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During the Fall of 1980, 8 physicians served as team physicians at 31 junior and senior high interscholastic football games at 6 regional schools. We studied type of injuries in relation to positions played, level of play and playing conditions. At the 31 games, 38 injured players requested evaluation or were observed to require it by the physician. The great majority of the injuries were contusions, sprains, and strains, with the upper and lower extremities being injured more frequently than the head or trunk. Of the 38 injuries, only one was life threatening (a tension pneumothorax) and 7 others were considered serious or potentially serious on the field. These included concussion,dislocations, possible fracture, possible peripheral nerve injury, and internal derangement of the knee. A higher number of injuries occurred on rainy days and muddy fields compared to dry playing conditions. The data suggests that injuries were less frequent in freshman games compared to varsity level competition. On the field treatment was limited to resting the player, immobilization, and application of ice. Four players were removed to emergency rooms before the conclusion of the game. Physician response to this work was generally favorable, although opinions differed as to the need for an M. D. to be in attendance at these football games although State law mandates this. Our findings may help to define the medical needs of local and senior high football programs.