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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  SPORT INJURIES AND REHABILITATION 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 August;62(8):1095-1102

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12578-2

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The epidemiology of indoor and outdoor rock climbing injuries presenting to USA emergency departments

Ramsey S. SABBAGH , Connor G. HOGE, Arun P. KANHERE, Atticus C. COSCIA, Brian M. GRAWE

Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA



BACKGROUND: The popularity of both indoor and outdoor rock climbing has dramatically increased over the last decade. The purpose of this study is to evaluate trends in USA climbing injury rates as well as assess specific injury characteristics, especially in the context of indoor and outdoor climbing.
METHODS: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database was queried (2010-2019) to compare national weighted injury estimates and compare various injury characteristics from climbers presenting to USA emergency departments.
RESULTS: The annual national estimates of rock climbing-related injuries presenting to USA emergency rooms increased significantly (P=0.030) from 2010 (N.=2381; CI 1085-3676) to 2019 (N.=4596; CI 492-8699). About 58.7% of the injuries in this study that could be classified by location occurred climbing outdoors. Ankle injuries were 2.25 times more likely (CI 1.03-3.08) to occur indoors than outdoors. Outdoor climbers were 2.25 times more likely to sustain an injury via falling and 13.8 times more likely to be injured by being struck by an object than indoor climbers (CI 1.05-2.42 and CI 10.67-17.78, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Indoor and outdoor rock climbing are associated with different injury characteristics and risks. Therefore proper safety precautions, equipment, and training specific to terrain should be observed by all climbers in order to help decrease the rising trend of rock climbing-related injuries in the USA.


KEY WORDS: Athletic injuries; Wounds and injuries; United States; Hospital emergency service

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