Gymnastics as dangerous as hockey?
Before I even had children I kept a running mental lists of activities I'd discourage my children from participating in due to the potential for bodily harm: knife juggling, snake charming, fire walking, NASCAR racing, football, hockey, and bungee jumping. Apparently I missed a big one: gymnastics.
After studying fifteen years worth of ER records of the injuries of children between the ages of six to seventeen years old, researchers found that gymnastics has an injury rate of 4.8 per 1,000 participants is similar to injury rates for soccer, basketball and cheer leading.
"Most people don't realize that gymnastics can be such a dangerous sport," the study's lead author, Dr. Lara B. McKenzie said. The rate of catastrophic or career-ending injuries in gymnastics is actually similar to that of ice hockey, she noted.
Too help protect your budding gymnast from injury, McKenzie recommends parents make sure to only use well established and reputable gymnastics programs with coaches, spotters and trainers who have taken safety training and also to be sure children never do gymnastics unsupervised. She's also lobbying for a national database for gymnastic-related injuries to identify specific risk factors. This would assist in the development of evidence-based guidelines to prevent injuries in the sport.