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Study finds rise in physical education injuries

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 3, 2009

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CHICAGO - Injuries to American children during physical education classes increased by 150 percent from 1997 to 2007, a new study finds, a possible drawback to a movement encouraging more vigorous exercise in schools.

Yet that might have less to do with lively education programs than with a lack of adult supervision, specialists said. A decline in school nurses and larger class sizes could be to blame, said the study’s senior author, Lara McKenzie of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Children got hurt by running into equipment or having contact with structures or other persons,’’ McKenzie said. “They had heat stroke, fainting, and heart palpitations.’’

Boys had more cuts and broken bones. Girls were more likely to suffer strains and sprains.

While the benefits of physical education classes outweigh the risks, McKenzie said, “being healthy doesn’t have to hurt.’’

The study, based on hospital reports, was released today and appears in the September edition of Pediatrics.

It suggests schools should renew their efforts to make the class safer, said Cheryl Richardson of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in Reston, Va.

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