Epidemiological Patterns of Alternative Racquet-Sport Injuries in the United States, 1997-2016

Derek T. Nhan, Walter Klyce, R. Jay Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Racquet sports have increased in popularity over the past decade. Although research is available regarding the epidemiological characteristics of tennis injuries, little is known about the frequency and characteristics of injuries in other racquet sports. Hypothesis: Given the increase in all racquet sport participation in the United States (US), it is hypothesized that injuries have accordingly become more frequent. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, we reviewed the numbers of badminton and squash/racquetball injuries presenting to a representative sample of US emergency departments (EDs). We used weighted estimates to extrapolate the data to the US population. Incidence estimates were compared with national participation data and stratified. Results: A total of 4330 injuries were reported, representing an estimated 173,000 injuries presenting to US EDs from 1997 through 2016. Despite the increase in the number of players from 2006 through 2016, the annual injury rate for squash/racquetball declined significantly, including the rates for each body region assessed. No similar trend was found for badminton injuries. Within our extrapolated ED cohort, the lower extremities were the most common body region injured (37%). Strains/sprains were the most common injury type in the trunk (73%), lower extremities (65%), and upper extremities (32%), whereas lacerations were most common in the head/neck (49%). In badminton, the youngest players (age range, 5-18 years) sustained twice as many fractures (relative risk [RR], 1.96; 95% CI, 1.14-3.38) and almost 3 times as many lacerations as patients in any other age group. Similarly, the youngest squash/racquetball players were at highest risk for lacerations (RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.22-1.73) and head and neck injuries (RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.26-1.83). Conclusion: Although declines in rates of squash/racquetball injuries were observed, the increasing popularity of badminton, squash, and racquetball necessitates further preventive measures to improve player safety, with an emphasis on the youngest players.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • badminton
  • racquet sports
  • sports injuries
  • squash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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