Important Facts for Student Injuries
DefinitionThe student injury rate is reported as the number of student injuries among kindergarten through 12th-graders in Utah schools per 1,000 students.
NumeratorThe number of public school student injuries that meet criteria.
DenominatorThe number of public school students enrolled in school.
Data Interpretation IssuesSchool injuries involving pre-schoolers and specialized schools, such as night classes, alternative schools, and special education schools, are not included. School years are defined as being in session between August 1 and July 31. No adjustment for year-round schools was made. School enrollment numbers for K-12 grades exclude self-contained special education, homebound, and hospitalized students.
Some Utah school districts are better than others at reporting injuries, which may make those schools appear to have more student injuries. In addition, student injury reporting forms are not submitted to the Violence and Injury Prevention Program at regular intervals, therefore, injury numbers from the previous school years may increase as forms are submitted.
Why Is This Important?The Student Injury Reporting system is a critical piece of Utah's injury prevention efforts because it gives injury professionals timely data that identify where, when, how, and why students get injured at school. By using this information, education officials can pinpoint risk factors at individual schools and develop safety guidelines and prevention programs.
School-related injuries are a significant public health problem. Appropriate interventions and prevention programs can minimize the physical and financial impact of injury on the individual, family, school, and community.
Healthy People Objective IVP-26:Reduce sports and recreation injuries
U.S. Target: 41.0 injuries per 1,000 population
Other ObjectivesHealthy People 2020 Objective AH-5.6:
Decrease school absenteeism among adolescents due to illness or injury
-U.S. Target: 13.1%
Healthy People 2010 Objective IVP-27:
Increase the proportion of public and private schools that require students to wear appropriate protective gear when engaged in school-sponsored physical activities
IVP-27.1: Physical education
-U.S. Target: 84.5%
IVP 27.2: Intramural activities or physical activity clubs
-U.S. Target: 94.4%
Healthy People 2020 Objective IVP-34:
Reduce physical fighting among adolescents
-U.S. Target: 28.4%
-State Target: 25.4%
Healthy People 2020 Objective IVP-35:
Reduce bullying among adolescents
-U.S. Target: 17.9%
-State Target: 25.4%
Healthy People 2020 Objective IVP-36:
Reduce weapon carrying by adolescents on school property
-U.S. Target: 4.6%
-State Target: 14.4%
How Are We Doing?In school year 2009-2010, the number of reported student injuries reached an all time low of 10.1 per 1,000 students.
From school years 2007-2008 to to 2009-2010, 6th graders had the highest percent of student injuries (10.5%). Females had the highest number of injuries in 8th grade (9.4%) while males had the highest number of injuries in 6th grade (11.3%). During this time frame, females accounted for 39.3% of the injuries while males accounted for 60.7%. Males had more injuries than females in every grade.
Injuries begin to decline among high school students. The majority of elementary school students (K-6th grade) are injured during lunch recess/recess while the majority of secondary school students (7th-12th grades) are injured during PE class.
A possible fracture or broken bone is the most common type of injury in both elementary and secondary schools.
How Do We Compare With U.S.?On a national level, middle and high school students sustain more injuries than elementary school students. In Utah and across the nation, most grade school injuries occur on the playground and playfield. In contrast, sports injuries take the lead in secondary schools, as students enter competitive sports. It's also known that coaches tend to report injuries less often, making those kinds of activities appear safer than they may actually be.
From school years 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, the elementary school reported injury rate was 11.0 per 1,000 students (CI: 10.8-11.2) and the secondary school reported injury rate was 11.1 per 1,000 students (CI: 10.9-11.4).
What Is Being Done?The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) began investigating school-related injures in 1982. However, since there was no uniform or standardized system for reporting and collecting student injury data, it was not possible to determine the frequency, nature, severity, or contributing factors of these injuries. Together with the Utah State Office of Education and local school districts, the UDOH developed the Student Injury Reporting (SIR) system to better identify school injury problems, implement interventions, and prevent injuries. The UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) is the current administrator of SIR. SIR was one of the first statewide school injury reporting systems developed in the United States. Since 1990, Utah schools have submitted reports on 126,685 criteria injuries for an average of 6,334 injuries per school year. But because there is no law that requires schools to report injuries, the VIPP estimates that the true number may actually be twice as high.
The following activities are underway to make Utahns more aware of the problem of school injury and of the importance of prevention:
1. Annual publication of a student injury report
2. Publication of articles in professional journals using school injury data
3. Continuing education and training on the web-based student injury reporting system for personnel responsible for completing school injury forms
4. Educating all school district superintendents regarding data findings
5. Maintaining an accurate and current school injury database
6. Providing current data to all who are interested
Other Program InformationThe mission of the Violence and Injury Prevention Program is to promote the health of Utah citizens by working to reduce the incidence and severity of injuries and resultant deaths. Its goals are to a) focus prevention efforts on reducing intentional and unintentional injury, b) conduct education aimed at increasing awareness and changing behaviors that contribute to the occurrence of injury, c) strengthen local health department capacity to conduct local injury prevention programs, d) promote legislation, policy changes, and enforcement that will reduce injury hazards and increase safe behaviors, e) collaborate with private and public partners, and f) improve the Utah Department of Health capacity to collect mortality and morbidity data from multiple sources and conduct injury epidemiology for use in prevention planning, implementation, and evaluation.