Benefits of Physical Education Classes Outweigh Risks

That reliably geeky character in high school movies that falls, trips and inevitably hurts himself in gym may be lost on the next generation. No, it's not the movement to ban tag or dodge ball. One study has shown falling down in gym class may be more common today than a decade ago.

Children are showing up in emergency rooms with injuries from physical education class at more than double the rate of 10 years ago, according to a study published in today's issue of the journal Pediatrics. While the rate doubled, the annual number of injuries shot up by 150 percent, from 1997 to 2007 , ABC News reports.

"We don't have an answer as to why injuries are increasing," said lead researcher Lara McKenzie, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus , U.S. News & World Report reports.

However, while the benefits of physical education classes outweigh the risks, McKenzie said, "being healthy doesn't have to hurt."

The study, based on hospital reports of phys ed injuries, was released Monday and appears in the September edition of Pediatrics. It suggests schools should renew their efforts to make gym class safer, said Cheryl Richardson of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in Reston, Va , The Associated Press reports.

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