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Permanent sequelae in sports injuries: a population based study
  1. Alberto G Marchia,
  2. Daniela Di Bellob,
  3. Gianni Messia,
  4. Giuseppe Gazzolab
  1. aUO Pronto Soccorso e Primo Accoglimento, IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, Via dell’Istria, 65/1, 34137 Trieste, Italy, bUO Ortopedia e Traumatologia, IRCCS Burlo Garofolo
  1. Professor Marchi. email: marchi{at}


AIM To identify permanent sequelae after sports injuries in children and adolescents.

METHODS In 1985, a prospective register was drawn up of all sports related injuries reported that year by the residents of Trieste, Italy aged 6–15 years. Moderate to severe injuries (scoring ⩾ 2 on the abbreviated injury scale (AIS)) were the object of a longitudinal clinical study. In 1988, 30.9% of the 220 subjects enrolled had sequelae. A further follow up was undertaken in 1997.

RESULTS The follow up in 1997 involved 54 subjects (26 girls; average age 24.5 years). Subjective and objective sequelae, by now considered to be permanent, were found in 61.1%, corresponding to 15% of the AIS ⩾ 2 injuries recorded in 1985. The prevalence of sequelae was similar in the two sexes, in relation to the child’s age at time of injury, and in the different sports practised. It was higher in relation to the severity of the lesion (89% of AIS 3 injuries examined, 56% of AIS 2 injuries) and to the type of lesion and its location. With regard to AIS ⩾ 2 injuries, permanent sequelae were found in 50% of ankle fractures, 43% of elbow fractures, 33% of leg/foot fractures, 25% of knee sprains, and 23% of ankle sprains.

CONCLUSIONS The frequency of sequelae in sports injuries in children and adolescents is high. The risk appears to be connected to certain anatomical and functional age characteristics. Prevention strategies should include specific assessment of physical fitness and adequate follow up after the accident, particularly rehabilitation.

  • sports related injuries
  • permanent sequelae
  • adolescents
  • longitudinal clinical study
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