Facial injuries due to cycling are prevalent: improved helmet design offering facial protection is recommended Journal Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Safety equipment for recreational cycling is commonly designed to protect the calvarium, but not the face, in the event of a crash. The purpose of this study is to identify the prevalence of facial injuries and their most common subcategories due to cycling injuries and to serve as an anatomical guide of what facial structures most need protection. METHODS: We report a cross-sectional study of consecutive patients reported to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2019. Patients were included in our study if they were evaluated in the emergency department (ED) for an injury due to cycling trauma. Primary outcome was injury to the face. Other variables of interest include age, sex, race, ED disposition, type of facial injury, location of facial injury, and presence of additional injuries. Descriptive and univariate statistics of the primary outcome were computed with these variables. RESULTS: There were 138,078 total patients injured due to cycling trauma reported by National Electronic Injury Surveillance System -participating EDs during the study period and, of those, 14,326 patients experienced injury to the face, revealing a 10.4% prevalence of facial injury due to cycling trauma (14,326/138,078). Thirteen percent (1,987/14,326) of facial injuries were fractures, and the most involved structures were the nose (786/1987; 40%), orbit (459/1987; 23%), and mandible (405/1987; 20%). Compared to children, adults demonstrate a greater risk of facial fracture (23.5% versus 6.5%, P < .0001) and hospital admission after facial injury (8.9 vs 2.8%, P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of facial injury in the setting of cycling trauma is over 10%, and 13% of these injuries were facial fractures. With this high prevalence, there is a need for cycling helmets that include facial protection or faceguards, and we outline the commonly fractured anatomical areas that need the most protection.

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publication date

  • 2021