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Getting in Shape Comes With Risks

Posted - Jul. 9, 2003 at 7:40 a.m.



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Getting in shape, and staying in shape, can take its toll.

In the first nationwide study of its kind, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that 7 million Americans each year receive medical attention for sports and recreation-related injuries.

The study found that basketball contributes to 14 percent of the injuries, more than any other sport.

"People of all ages play it," said Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC's injury center and an author of the study. "It doesn't require a lot of special equipment or special facilities so that may have a role in why we saw so many basketball injuries."

The study is based on results from the National Health Interview Survey, which is a face-to-face household survey conducted yearly by the National Center for Health Statistics. The survey included more than 114,000 American households between 1997 and 1999. It counted any sports injury that required a call or visit to a doctor.

Most were hurt being struck by or hitting against something or someone (34 percent), falling (28 percent) or overexertion (13 percent).

The most common injuries reported were strains and sprains (31 percent), fractures (22.6 percent), wounds (13.3 percent) and scrapes and bruises (11.3 percent).

The Dangers of Fishing

The survey found that bicycling is the second most common cause of sports injuries, followed by so-called recreational sports, which include tennis, hiking, bowling, and fishing.

Fishing?

"One could put a hook through their finger or pull a muscle getting in and out of the boat," said Gilchrist.

The survey also found that men were twice as likely to report a sports injury as women.

The study did not calculate how much all those cuts and bruises cost the country each year. But it found that 25 percent of adults who had a sports injury lost one or more days of work. And 3 percent had to be hospitalized.

The CDC says many sports injuries could be prevented if more Americans were in better shape, but this study shows that just getting in shape comes with risks.

The study, published in the June issue of Injury Prevention , can be found at www.injuryprevention.com .

For more on injury prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/injury .

To see more on this story, go to http://www.ABCNews.go.com

Copyright 2003 ABCNEWS.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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