NEARLY half of patients with sporting injuries at Oxfordshire's A&E departments are young people, a study has found.

Almost 50 per cent of those attending A&E with sporting injuries are under 19, putting a ‘burden’ on local NHS services according to the study by Newcastle University.

Almost a quarter of those injuries, recorded between 2012 and 2014 at the John Radcliffe and Banbury’s Horton General Hospital, were fractures.

By far the most likely to be injured were boys playing football, followed by boys playing rugby union and trampoling girls.

Researchers found that 10-to-14-year-olds were the age group most likely to be injured, followed by 15-to-19-year-olds.

Authors Graham Kirkwood, Thomas Hughes and Allyson Pollock concluded that: “Public health departments in local authorities and schools should consider targeting sports injury prevention at children in the first four years of secondary school.

“For younger age groups, trampolines in the home warrant improved safety. Rugby and horse-riding should also be a focus for interventions.”

The researchers said that their study had demonstrated the 'high burden' on NHS hospitals from sports injury attendance in children and adolescents and showed the need for serious injury prevention work in the field.

They added: "Serious consideration needs to be given to how data generated can be used to inform schools, clubs, coaches, parents and children and to inform injury prevention strategies and reduce the burden of injuries and morbidity in children."

There were 63,877 emergency department injuries for all ages in total with 11,676 (18 per cent) recorded as sports-related.

Of those, 20 per cent were 10–14-year-olds and 19 per cent were 15–19-year-olds.

The study was conducted by Newcastle University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.