According to a new study by the National Center for Health Statistics, over the past 6 years 2.7 million athletes between the ages of 5 and 24 have been treated for injuries in hospital emergency rooms; that’s nearly half a million patients every year. Some of them really belong there, of course, but it’s likely that most could be treated more quickly, less expensively, and at least as safely in your urgent care center. If you have x-ray capabilities and enough expertise to treat simple fractures and assess for concussion, why shouldn’t patients know they or their children can avoid waiting forever in the emergency room, possibly being exposed to infectious disease and experiencing pain longer than they have to? Talk to local school districts and town recreational sports organizers to make sure they understand your capabilities. Offer to give a representative a tour. You’ll be doing them a favor, and obviously gain new patients in the end. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the data on which sports are most likely to result in injury, and what you’re most likely to see:
- Top three most common sports for injury: basketball, football, cycling
- Upper body injuries more common in younger patients
- Lower extremity injuries more common in “older” patients
- 60% of patients needed over-the-counter pain medication
The full report is available on the NCHS website.