Objectives: To assess the incidence and severity of head injuries to children sustained by a blow from a golf club or ball and to highlight the potential for significant injury. An increase in public awareness of these risks might result in a reduction in morbidity.
Methods: Over a period of seven months, all children aged 3–13 years, attending the accident and emergency department with a head injury sustained from a golf club or ball had their case notes reviewed by the author.
Results: Thirty seven children, 78% of whom were boys, were identified as having sustained such a head injury, commonly during the school holiday months. Thirty three of the injuries were caused by golf clubs, the other four by a golf ball. Half of the injuries were to the frontal area. Twenty five children (68%) had skull radiographs but only one was positive—one child sustaining a compound depressed fracture of the frontal area. One child required cleaning and suturing of a wound under a general anaesthetic. A known epileptic child had a fit immediately after being hit on the head by a golf ball. Twenty two (60%) sustained lacerations that were repaired with steristrips or glue. Twelve had haematomas, seven complained of dizziness/drowsiness, and two had nausea/vomiting.
Conclusions: Other authors have reported fatal head injuries, and it would seem that parents are unaware of the risks of serious and permanent head injury, with the potential for death, attributable to blows to the head from golf clubs and balls. The need for early tuition in the safety aspects of the game cannot be underestimated and parent and player education strategies are suggested as the main means of reducing injuries in this popular sport.
- head injuries
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