Sports injuries among elderly increasing

May 17, 1998|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As older people take up more adventurous sports, they are also showing up at emergency rooms with more sports injuries.

A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says doctors are reporting injuries in people over age 65 from physically challenging sports such as snowboarding and in-line skating.

Participation by older Americans in such rigorous sports is on the rise, and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association reflects the trend in a 200-page directory of more than 1,000 fitness organizations with programs for people over 50.

Groups with names like Babes on Blades, the Tucson Hot Flashes and the Recycled Teen-agers are pursuing sports once perceived as the domain of the young.

"So many people are glad to find our group," said Louise Conner, spokeswoman for the Over the Hill Gang in Colorado Springs, Colo. "Members say, 'We're not over the hill; we're on top of it.' "

The Over the Hill Gang has 6,500 members with an average age of 62. This year, they have 28 ski trips planned plus eight other trips including biking, hiking and rafting expeditions.

"It's invigorating for members," said Conner. "It's really life-affirming. They say it feels great to still ski and to meet people."

Hoping to reverse the injury trend, the commission and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons have jointly produced a brochure, "Keep Active and Safe at Any Age."

To receive a copy, call (800) 824-BONES or visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Pub Date: 5/17/98

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