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April 30 2010 12:00 AM

The popularity of weight training has grown over the past decade. A new
study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The
Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital has found that the
number of injuries from weight training has increased as well. The
study found that more than 970,000 weight training-related injuries
were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between 1990 and
2007, increasing nearly 50% during the 18-year study period.


Data from the study, available online as a Preview Publication-Before-Print in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that males (82%) and youths aged 13 to 24 years (47%) sustained the largest proportion of weight training-related
injuries.


The majority of injuries occurred during the use of free
weights (90%), and the most common mechanism of injury were
weights dropping on a person (65%).


Injuries to the upper (25%) and lower trunk (20%) were the most common followed by
injuries to the hand (19%).


The most frequent injury diagnoses
were sprains and strains (46%) followed by soft tissue injuries
(18%).


While youths (ages 13-24) had the highest number of injuries, the
largest increase in the incidence of injuries occurred among those aged
45 years and older. People aged 55 and older were more likely than
their younger counterparts to be injured while using weight-training
machines, and to sustain injuries from overexertion and lifting or
pulling.


On the other hand, youths 12 years and younger were more
likely to be injured while using free weights. This age group had a
higher proportion of lacerations and fractures, and were more likely to
sustain injuries as a result of having a weight drop or fall on them
than those aged 13 years and older.


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