There has been a drastic increase in the number of physical education-related injuries among school students over a decade, according to a study.
Conducted by the Centre for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the study has revealed that there has been 150 percent increase from 1997-2007.
Physical education (PE) in schools is one of the main tools used to increase physical activity and to prevent childhood obesity, but the researchers suggest that parents and school administrators should remain vigilant for injuries.
The findings indicated that 23 percent of the PE-related injuries were lower-extremity sprains and strains, while 14pct suffered upper extremity sprains and strains and fractures.
Middle school-aged children (11-14 years of age) accounted for the majority of PE-related injuries (52 percent). Elementary school-aged children (5-10 years of age) had almost double the odds of a head injury, compared with other injuries.
Nearly 70 percent of PE-related injuries occurred while children were participating in six activities like running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics.
"The 150 percent increase in PE-related injuries presenting to emergency departments was consistent across gender and age groups. It is unlikely that this increase was attributable to an increase in PE participation," said study author Dr. Lara McKenzie, principal investigator at the Centre for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital and faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
"Identifying patterns of PE-related injuries is the first step toward preventing them. Injury prevention education should be made a priority for all PE activities, especially for those activities with the highest injury rates," she added.
The study has been published in the online issue of the journal Pediatrics.