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May 16, 1966

The Epiphyses and the Childhood Athlete

Author Affiliations

From the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic and the departments of orthopedic surgery (Dr. Larson) and radiology (Dr. McMahan), Sacred Heart Hospital, Eugene, Ore.

JAMA. 1966;196(7):607-612. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100200047015

There have been objections raised to the participation of children 9 to 15 years old in athletics. These have been gendered by the fear of epiphyseal injury and permanent deformity. A review of 1,338 consecutive athletic injuries seen by four orthopedists revealed that 20% occurred in the age group 14 years old and younger. Of injuries occurring in the age group 15 years old and younger 6% were epiphyseal. Because the epiphyseal-metaphyseal junction is less strong than the fibrous and ligamentous supports around joints, injuries to such joints must be checked for possible epiphyseal injury. Roentgenographic evaluation combined with clinical judgment is necessary to detect epiphyseal injury.