Dance-Related Injuries Requiring Emergency Room Visits on the Rise Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, July 16, 2020




Robin Waxenberg                                              Honey Hamilton
Robin Waxenberg & Associates                         NATA                                 
917-301-1350                                                     972-532-8812



July 16, 2020




DALLAS, TX – New research found that dance-related injuries requiring an emergency room visit were on the rise by 22.5% from 2014 - 2018. Nearly half of the patients reported to the emergency department with a sprain or strain. Most injuries occurred in females (83.3%) and were between 10-18 years old (76.2%). Epidemiology of Dance Related Injuries Presenting to Emergency Departments in the U.S., 2014-2018 is being presented today as part of the 2020 NATA Virtual Clinical Symposia & AT Expo educational programming, which transitioned to a virtual event in light of COVID-19. The study abstract will be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, the scientific journal of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, later this year.

“Before the pandemic hit, we saw a disturbing trend that the frequency of dance injuries requiring medical attention was increasing,” said Joshua Honrado, MS, ATC, CSCS, athletic trainer, NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, and Doctor of Athletic Training student at A.T. Still University. “The use of in-house medical professionals, such as athletic trainers, in performing arts studios and organizations are likely to positively impact the need to visit the emergency room, which can be costly to the family and can slow down urgent response to other critical care in the emergency room.”

Between the years 2014-2018, 4,152 patients reported to emergency departments with a dance injury. The injuries occurred most commonly at the knee (22.5%), ankle (15.7%), and foot (10.2%), and were diagnosed as sprain/strain (42.6%), fracture (10.3%), or contusion (8.1%).  The most common injuries were ankle sprain/strain (12.7%), knee sprain/strain (10.4%), and knee dislocation (4.3%).  Almost all patients were treated and released (97.1%), and a small percentage were admitted to the hospital (1.6%) or left the ED before being seen by a healthcare provider (1.0%).  Incidence rates were over four times higher for females than males and highest in the 10-18 years age group.

Data analyzed was sourced from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), consisted of de-identified, publically available, nationally representative patient data collected from a probability sample of 100 EDs located in the U.S. Only injuries that occurred during a structured event (e.g., dance class, dance competition) were included.  Injuries occurring during unstructured events (e.g., dancing at a wedding) were excluded.

Additional performing arts-focused research presented at 2020 NATA Virtual Clinical Symposia & AT Expo

Self‑Reported Injury History and Health-Related Quality of Life in Competitive, Collegiate Baton Twirlers
Dufour BL, Hertel JN, Vela LI

  • Baton twirling is a unique performance-based sport that emphasizes strength, athleticism and artistry.
  • The study consisted of 142 collegiate baton twirlers (total population estimated to be 300-400)
  • 90% of participants experienced a time-loss injury and reported a total of 295 twirling injuries.
  • Injury prevalence in collegiate baton twirlers was comparable to self-reported dance injuries. However, the injury characteristics (location, timing, and nature of injuries) are unique to this population.
  • The burden that injuries place on aspects of this populations’ quality of life (bodily pain, vitality and physical function) is important for clinicians who work with baton twirlers to note.

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association – Health Care for Life & Sport

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 45,000 members of the athletic training profession.  Visit for more information.