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Epidemiology of Meniscal Injuries in U.S. High School Athletes from 2007/08 – 2012/13
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    Knowledge of epidemiologic trends of meniscal injuries in young active populations is limited. Better awareness of injury patterns is a first step to lowering injury rates. Our hypothesis was that meniscal injuries in high school athletes would vary by gender, sport, and type of exposure.


    During 2007–2013, a large nationally disperse sample of US high schools reported athlete exposure and injury data for 22 sports by having certified athletic trainers complete an internet-based data collection tool.


    1,082 meniscal injuries were reported during 21,088,365 athlete-exposures for an overall injury rate of 5.1 per 100,000 athlete exposures. The overall rate of injury was higher in competition (11.9) than practice (2.7) (RR = 4.4; 95% CI, 3.9–5.0), and 12/19 sports showed significantly higher injury rates in competition compared to practice. Of all injuries, 68.0% occurred in boys, yet among the gender-comparable sports of soccer, basketball, track and field, lacrosse, and baseball/softball injury rates were higher for girls than boys (5.5 and 2.5, respectively, RR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.8–2.7). Contact injury represented the most common mechanism (55.9%). Surgery was performed for the majority of injuries (63.8%), and 54.0% of athletes had associated intra-articular knee pathology.


    Meniscal injury patterns among high school athletes vary by gender, sport, and type of exposure. Overall rates are higher for boys, but this is driven by football; however in gender-comparable sports girls may be at higher risk for meniscal injury. Our study is clinically relevant because recognition of distinct differences in these injury patterns will help drive evidence-based, targeted injury prevention strategies and efforts.

    Level of Evidence

    Level III

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    R49 CE000674/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R49/CE000674-01/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R49 CE001172/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    KL2 RR025754/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    R49/CE001172-01/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
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