So Reuters has a bit up today with the headline Injuries Common Among Cross-Country Runners.
During the 2003-2004 school year, more than 364,000 students in the United States participated in high school cross-country running, which was ranked as the seventh most popular high school sport nationwide for girls and boys, respectively. Previous reports suggest that the incidence of injury among cross-country runners ranges from less than 2 percent to nearly 50 percent, but little research on the topic has been conducted among high school athletes.
(The investigation) team followed 421 male and female runners from 23 cross-country teams at 12 high schools in Seattle, Washington during the 1996 cross-country running season.
Overall, 162 runners experienced a total of 316 injuries during the season, the investigators report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The rate of injury was generally higher for girls than for boys, the study findings show, and girls were four times more likely than boys to experience an injury that kept them from running for 15 or more days.
What’s not mentioned is the number of injuries that kept runners from running for 15 or more days, or comparisons with other sports.
Why this gets my ire up completely is that it’s just another reason for parents to let their kids sit on their increasingly fatter (ed-posteriors) – “Oh, Sammy can’t run XC – he might get injured”. Or, to insist on further regulation and supervision of what ought to be just straight up play.
Sure, it’s sad when kids get hurt. But hey – twisted knees and ankles are far closer to skinned knees than to concussions, fractures, and cracked vertebrae. Suck it up, put on some ice, and let the kids go get muddy. There are far better stories with which to “raise awareness” and sell fish wrappers.