Thursday, August 6, 2009

Phys ed class can be a real pain

Another one of those "study" stories that I love (not!) came out earlier this week, this one sounding an alarm over the rising number of injuries among children participating in phys ed classes.

The study, being published in the September edition of Pediatrics and reported this week by a number of news outlets, found a 150 percent increase from 1997 to 2007 in injuries suffered among children ages 5 to 18 during gym classes. Extrapolating from the data they collected from 100 representative U.S. hospitals, researchers estimated that such injuries had risen from fewer than 30,000 in 1997 to more than 60,000 a year by 2007.

What was most interesting was that the researchers attributed to the rise in gym-class injuries to a lack of appropriate supervision. They pointed out that in some school districts, phys ed teachers don't even have to be certified.

Of the injuries documented during the study, strains and sprains were more common among girls while boys suffered more cuts and broken bones. Isn't some of that just normal kid stuff?

The study is worth considering, particularly as it applies to the supervision that children receive. Children should be properly supervised at school, whether it be on the playground, in the gymnasium or in the science lab.

But I certainly hope the fear of possible injuries and resultant litigation doesn't prompt schools to cut back on gym classes even more than many already have. Children need to be encouraged to be more active.

A cut or sprain is nothing compared with the potential toll of obesity, heart disease or diabetes on that child later in life.


  1. School districts have also cut way back on school nurses. I'm sure in the past these types of common, non-serious injuries were treated by the school nurse & didn't involve a hospital visit.