According to a study conducted by pediatric orthopedic surgeons at the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, children and females are more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries in ATV-related accidents than anyone else. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, showed that accidents and injuries treated in hospitals among those two groups have risen as much as 240 percent since 1997, as the popularity of All-Terrain Vehicles has risen substantially over that time period.
The statistics are based on information that the surgeons gathered from the Kids’ Inpatient Database, which not only showed the aforementioned dramatic increase, but also a 476 percent increase in the number of children who suffered spinal cord injuries over that time. The reason that children are more susceptible to spinal cord injuries, according to an article in Science Codex, is because these ATV accidents can lead to high-energy injuries in young people.
“We want to encourage physicians to be aware of the potential for associated injuries, including abdominal trauma, thoracic trauma, closed head injury, other spinal fracture, appendicular skeletal fracture, or neurologic injury. Of special interest was the frequency of noncontiguous spinal fracture because a second spinal injury may be missed because it is in a separate region of the spine as the first injury,” said Jeffrey R. Sawyer, M.D., who is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as a spokesperson on ATV injuries for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics in July/August of last year, also revealed that there were distinctive differences in children of certain ages when it came to the severity of spinal cord injuries. In a study of 29 children, some with multiple spinal cord injuries, over a period of 5 years, it was determined that children older than 16 years had lower pediatric trauma scores and typically thoracic spine fractures in ATV accidents. Children younger than 16 were more likely to suffer lumbar fractures.