UMN Surgery Researchers Publish Analysis of Pediatric Facial Injuries in Boxing and Martial Arts

Department of Surgery researchers have published a cross-sectional study of pediatric patients evaluated in the emergency department (ED) after boxing or martial arts trauma. The study was authored by Adjunct Professor Dr. Warren Schubert with current University of Minnesota Medical School students Thomas Sorenson and Rachael Gotlieb.

The study was prompted by recent data showing childhood participation in boxing and martial arts increased over the past decade, causing traumatic injury. Pediatric patients in the study were analyzed through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2019. Patients included in the study were younger than 18 years of age and evaluated in the emergency department (ED) after boxing or martial arts trauma. As a result, 4,978 pediatric patients were injured due to boxing and martial arts trauma reported by NEISS-participating EDs during the study period, and 264 patients experienced an injury to the face. Over 20% of reported facial injuries were fractures; the most fractured structure was the nose, orbit, and mandible.

The research team concluded that facial injuries comprise about 5% of injuries after boxing and martial arts trauma and 22% of these facial injuries are fractures. To minimize risk, researchers suggest the use of mandatory head and face protective gear to eliminate the risk of facial injuries during training fighting or "sparring.”

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