Older but apparently not much wiser, baby boomers who stay active with exercise and sports are racking up injuries, federal statistics show.
There was a 33 percent increase in sports-related injuries that sent adult ages 35 to 54 to hospital emergency rooms from 1991 to 1998, which was the latest year reported in Consumer Product Safety Commission data.
More than 365,000 injuries from 16 popular sports were treated in emergency rooms in 1998, CPSC said. The estimate rises to more than 1 million when the agency includes cases of medically treated injuries in these sports that were not seen in the ER.
CPSC Chairman Ann Brown doubts things are getting safer. ''We can predict that over 1 million baby boomers will be injured playing sports this year,'' she said.
The CPSC, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine have launched a public education campaign, including brochures and a Web site.
Treating sports injuries suffered by a mega-generation that represents about 30 percent of the population leads to a huge medical bill -- more than $18.7 billion in 1998, the CPSC said.
However, the increase in injuries does not necessarily mean boomers are getting more dangerous. The rise is due primarily to the growing number of people between 35 and 54, CPSC data said. In 1998, there were 14 million more people in the age range than there were in 1991.
But doctors wish the boomers would wise up, by using protective equipment more, and giving their aging bodies more time to recover.
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