The findings showed that sporting-related cervical fractures increased by 35 per cent from 2000 to 2015, mainly due to an increase in cycling-related injuries.
Men experienced the most fractures due to cycling
, while the most common cause of fractures in women was horseback riding.
"Cervical spine injury is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality, and, as far as injuries go, one of the more devastating injuries that we as orthopaedic surgeons can treat," said lead author J. Mason DePasse, from the Brown University in Rhode Island, US.
"Our study showed that cycling is the number one cause of neck fractures, which suggests we may need to investigate this in terms of safety," DePasse added.
For the study, the team examined 50,000 patient cases in the national database to estimate the sex-specific incidence of cervical spine injuries in sporting activities and to identify the activities most commonly associated with neck sprains and cervical fractures.
The study authors identified 27,546 patients who sustained a neck injury during a sporting activity.
Overall, the number of neck sprains decreased by 33 per cent from 2000 to 2015; however, sprains sustained during weightlifting and aerobic exercise increased 66 per cent.
Sporting-related cervical fractures increased by 30 per cent in that time period, which was driven in part by a 300 per cent increase in cycling-related injuries.
The incidence of injuries in males was 1.7 times higher for neck sprains and 3.6 times greater for fractures when compared to females.
The findings were presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans.