+David H. Janda, M.D., $Edward M. Wojtys, M.D., ||Fred M. Hankin, M.D.,
*Milbry E. Benedict, M.D., $Robert N. Hensinger, M.D.
from +Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, the
$Section of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the *Department of Recreational Sports,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and ||Community Orthopedic Surgery,
PC, and Huron Valley Hand Surgery, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Recreational sports injuries are expensive to society. Prevention of such
injuries must be a major public health.
In a previous retrospective study, base sliding was found to be responsible
for 71% of recreational softball injuries. Because most injuries occurred during
rapid deceleration against stationary bases, quick-release (break-away) bases
were evaluated as a means to modify this mechanism of injury. In a prospective
study, 633 softball games were played on break-away base fields and 627 games
were played on stationary base fields. Forty-five sliding injuries occurred on
the stationary base diamonds (1 injury for every 13.9 games) and only two
sliding injuries occurred on the break-away fields (1 injury for every 316.5
games). The medical costs for injuries on the stationary base fields was 79
times greater than that on the break-away fields. In a 1035 game follow-up study
performed on all fields equipped with break-away bases, two sliding injuries
occurred (1 injury for every 517.5 games).
Installing break-away bases in fields used by recreational leagues would
achieve a significant reduction of serious softball injuries (98%) and,
therefore, should be mandatory.
Based on our findings, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated 1.7
million injuries would be prevented nationally per year, saving $2.0 billion per
year nationally in acute medical care costs.
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