Skatepark injuries can incur economic pain

December 19, 2007

Anyone heading out to the local skatepark with dreams of becoming the next Tony Hawk may want to take some precautions.

Researchers from the Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention at the University of California, Irvine have found that the economic aches attached to a skatepark-related injury can be as great as the physical pains.

Dr. Federico Vaca and colleagues tracked emergency room patients at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., who injured themselves at a nearby skatepark and found that the average cost for each injury was nearly $3,200. Medical costs comprised two-thirds of this amount, and lost wages accounted for the other third for both patients and their families. The study appears in Clinical Medicine & Research.

“With skateboarding’s popularity remaining high, the economic impact of these injuries affects more and more people and their families,” said Vaca, a clinical professor of emergency medicine. “Between 1997 and 2005 across the country, emergency room visits by people with skateboard-related injuries rose from over 48,000 to more than 112,000, and that number continues to rise.”

The researchers found that economic impact was greatest on working adults older than 25, who, on average, missed an average of 17 days of work because of their injuries. Vaca noted that one patient lost his job because he missed too much work. As a result from loss of income, he was evicted from his apartment. Another subject, who tuned guitars and pianos by trade, suffered a forearm fracture and was fired because he could not work.

“Clearly, for adults who suffer injuries while skateboarding, the economic impact can go significantly beyond the medical costs,” Vaca said.

A little more than half of the patients surveyed were between the ages of 8 and 19. While lost wages weren’t a factor for this group, the impact was felt more on the entire family. In addition to students missing school, parents reported missing work to take their children for follow-up medical care.

For the study, Vaca’s team followed emergency room patients from July 1999 to July 2001, contacting them by telephone one week post-injury and then again at one-, three-, six-, nine- and 12-month intervals to assess follow-up medical care, time lost from work and school for both the subject and parents, and the degrees of self-reported disabilities.

Eighty percent of the 95 participating patients were riding skateboards; the others were using inline skates or motocross bicycles. Ninety-one percent of the injured patients were treated and released the same day; 9 percent were admitted for further care. Fifty-eight percent reported previous injuries from the same activities, and more than 90 percent reported using helmets and knee pads. Seventy-one percent had medical insurance.

Vaca says common skateboard injuries seen in emergency departments are arm and leg fractures, sprains, contusions, and head and stomach injuries.

Source: University of California - Irvine

Explore further: Startup could bring back Vioxx for hemophilia

Related Stories

Startup could bring back Vioxx for hemophilia

November 21, 2017
Could there be a second life for the once-popular arthritis pill Vioxx? A startup pharmaceutical company hopes so.

New oral anticoagulant drugs associated with lower kidney risks

November 20, 2017
Mayo Clinic researchers have shown a link between which type of oral anticoagulant (blood-thinning medication) a patient takes to prevent a stroke and increased risks of kidney function decline or failure.

Digital pills successfully monitor opioid use after injury

November 20, 2017
Digital pills - gelatin capsules that contain an ingestible sensor along with medication - can help track patterns of drug use, and Brigham and Women's Hospital clinicians are among the first to explore the application of ...

Blueprint to reduce wasteful blood transfusions

November 20, 2017
By analyzing data from randomized clinical trials comparing blood transfusion approaches, Johns Hopkins experts, along with colleagues at Cleveland Clinic and NYU Langone Medical Center, endorse recommendations for blood ...

Aggressive testing provides no benefit to patients in ER with chest pain

November 14, 2017
Patients who go to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain often receive unnecessary tests to evaluate whether they are having a heart attack, a practice that provides no clinical benefit and adds hundreds of dollars in health-care ...

'It never really leaves you.' Opioids haunt users' recovery

November 20, 2017
It's hard to say whether businessman Kyle Graves hit rock bottom when he shot himself in the ankle so emergency room doctors would feed his opioid habit or when he broke into a safe to steal his father's cancer pain medicine.

Recommended for you

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.