(HealthDay News) — The incidence of head and neck injuries (HNIs) resulting from participation in extreme sports increased from 2000–2011, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 11–15 in New Orleans.

Vinay K. Sharma, from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and colleagues utilized data from the 2000–2011 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to identify injuries from seven popular sports included in the Winter and Summer X Games.

The researchers found that of the four million plus injuries reported for extreme sports participants over the study period, 11.3% were HNIs (83% head injuries and 17% neck injuries). HNIs had the highest total incidence in skateboarding (129,600), snowboarding (97,527), skiing (83,313), and motocross (78,236). The incidence of severe HNIs (cervical or skull fracture) was 2.5% of all extreme sports HNIs. There was not a consistent year-to-year trend, although the incidence of extreme sports HNIs increased from year 2000 (34,065) to 2010 (40,042).

“A greater awareness of the dangers associated with these sports offer an opportunity for sports medicine and orthopedic physicians to advocate for safer equipment, improved on-site medical care, and further research regarding extreme sports injuries,” the authors write.

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