Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Susan Yeargin


Research examining emergency medical services (EMS) activations for sport- related injuries has been limited regarding the populations examined, inclusion criteria, and location. The management of sport-related injuries by EMS providers has also not been examined. The purpose of this study was to describe EMS activations for sport- related injuries from a national sample and describe their management by EMS. Data was obtained from the National EMS Information System Database for the years 2017 and 2018. Sport-related injuries were identified using specific ICD-10-CM codes for the incident location type and cause of injury. Cases were limited to 9-1-1 responses for patients aged 3-99. Descriptive variables included patient characteristics (e.g. age, gender), incident location, complaint reported by dispatch, chief complaint organ system and anatomic location, primary symptom, provider’s primary impression, service level, and procedures performed. Frequencies and proportions were calculated for all descriptive variables. There were 71,322 sport-related injuries identified, accounting for 0.2% of all EMS activations from 2017-2018. The average patient age was 36.6±22.9 years and most were male (n=41132, 57.7%). The most common incident location was general sports and athletics areas (n=46017, 64.5%). Traumatic injury was the most common complaint reported by dispatch (n=16064, 22.5%). The most common chief complaint was “global/general” for anatomic location (n=24075, 33.8%) and organ system (n=20543, 28.8%) affected, with unspecified pain selected as the most common primary symptom (n=9642, 14.6%). On average, 1.5 procedures were performed by EMS, with the most frequent procedure being catheterization of the vein (n=25449). Most EMS activations for sport-related injuries received an advanced level of care (n=25885, 85.5%). Overall, sport-related injuries account for a low percentage of all EMS activations. Individuals of all ages were represented, indicating sport-related injuries affect a wide variety of people in formal and informal sport settings. Most sport-related injuries receive an advanced level of care and have procedures performed, indicating EMS activation was likely necessary. Coaches and administrators hosting athletic events should develop an emergency action plan for their venues and consider having trained on-site medical providers to provide immediate care for an injury and coordinate the EMS response. (347/350)


© 2020, Rebecca Marie Hirschhorn