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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Decreased Child ER Visits after LA Lakers Title Games

There are many situational factors that can potentially affect why people bring children to the Emergency Room (ER). One such factor is major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Championship Games. That is, if people are pre-occupied watching these games or celebrating afterwards, they may be less prone to take children to the ER and will perhaps wait the next day to follow-up with a pediatrician.

A recent study in Pediatric Emergency Medicine explored the ER census over a five year period (2006-2010) in relation to the three major sporting events mentioned above. The study times were 4 hours before each event and 8 hours after the events began, divided into 2-hour increments. The comparison group study times were one week after the major sporting event during the corresponding time periods. The study site was the Emergency Department in Loma Linda University Medical Center which means all the times were in the Pacific time zone.

Results of the study generally showed that there was no significant difference in the ER census before and after any of these sporting events compared to the control periods. This is good news because if there is a true emergency, then children should be taken the ER whether there is a major sporting event going on or not. However, 6 to 8 hours after the NBA Finals there were more children taken to the ER in the study group versus the control group.

Because the study was performed in a city close to Los Angeles, the researchers performed further analyses to determine if there was any specific effect related to the Los Angeles Lakers being in the NBA finals. Results showed that there was a decreased use of the ER for children 6 to 8 hours after the games when the Los Angeles Lakers were in the finals. When the Lakers were not in the NBA Finals, there was no decrease in children going to the ER compared to controls in the 6 to 8 hour post-game period. Of course, it is possible that that the decreased ER visits after Lakers wins were related to some other unknown factor, so the topic will require further study, especially since there were a small number of children in the ER during that time period (sleeping hours). 

Suggested reading: The Los Angeles Lakers Encyclopedia

Related blog entry: Who Uses the Emergency Room Most? The Answers May Surprise You?

Reference: Kim TY, Barcega BB, Denmark TK.(2012). Pediatric emergency department census during major sporting events.Pediatr Emerg Care. 28(11):1158-61.

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