Researchers "surprised" at number of cycling genital injuries, especially among kids

Top tube landings make up bulk of causes

by John Stevenson   April 7, 2014  

Emergency room sign (CC licensed image by Rob Nguyen:Flickr)

Researchers in the US have expressed surprise at the rate of injuries to the genitals and kidneys among cyclists. Their data indicates the likelihood of a whack to the tender bits is ten times higher for kids than adults, but most attendance at ER is for minor injuries.

In a paper published in the journal Injury Prevention, researchers found that among children, the incidence of bicycle-related genitourinary injuries was 448 per 100,000 and, among adults, was 53 per 100,000.

However, the researchers found that injuries to adults were more likely to result in admission to hospital.

“We were surprised that there were so many injuries related to bike riding,” co-author Dr. Benjamin Breyer, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told Allison Bond of Reuters Health.

The study used data from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System which collects information on patients attending the 24-hour emergency rooms of about 100 hospitals nationwide, including eight children’s hospitals.

The researchers looked only at injuries that had not been caused by collision with a car, and used the need to be admitted to hospital as the only indicator of severity of injury.

For the study period, 2002-10, researchers found that an average of about 4,000 people per year sustained a bicycle related kidney or genital injury.

About 12% of adult ER visits resulted in hospital admission whereas only 7% of children’s visits ended in admission.

The majority of injuries occurred when the rider came into contact with the bike rather than when he hit the ground. And it is mostly 'he': 61% of the injuries survey were sustained by boys and men.

Nearly Hhalf of all injuries occurred when the rider landed on the top tube. Contact with the handlebars was found to be more likely to injure males than females.

Landon Trost, a urologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, played down the level of risk implied by the findings.

“This particular study, if anything, shows that the vast majority of people who come to the ER come for minor injuries,”  said Trost.

He added that further safety measures seemed excessive.

“Should kids wear an athletic cup? Should we have airbags on handlebars?” Trost said.

26 user comments

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erm helmets.

@rich22222

posted by rich22222 [149 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:09

228 Likes

61% of the injuries survey were sustained by boys and men

Can think of lots of reasons why this might be the case - could boys/men exhibit more risky bike-riding styles, and what's the male/female breakdown of the cycling population?

posted by congokid [220 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:19

228 Likes

rich22222 wrote:
erm helmets.

Protection for helmets then

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:22

221 Likes

Thinking Hmm, so kids are more likely to injure their 'elmet rather than their helmet

posted by sfichele [130 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:26

207 Likes

I would speculate that kids with a bike that 'they will grow into' is a feature here. If you can't reach the floor with your feet your nuts are going to cop it with a quick dismount

Bigdai100's picture

posted by Bigdai100 [5 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:31

230 Likes

When i was a kid BMX's used to have padding on the top tube and handlebars. We need to bring them back!

posted by ribena [166 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:31

219 Likes

Raleigh Chopper..... The ball wrecker gear shifter... Arggg not so fond memories Surprise

Harry Middleton CC

Beefy's picture

posted by Beefy [306 posts]
7th April 2014 - 17:03

233 Likes

congokid wrote:

61% of the injuries survey were sustained by boys and men

Can think of lots of reasons why this might be the case - could boys/men exhibit more risky bike-riding styles, and what's the male/female breakdown of the cycling population?

It could be the fact that our bits are on the outside...

posted by MKultra [369 posts]
7th April 2014 - 17:22

229 Likes

It actually highlights that one of the most important lessons to learn for riding a bike is how to fall off without hurting yourself.

Consider this a parallel with parachute jumping. You know you will land, at a speed where you might hurt yourself, and so you learn how to brace and roll, before you even try a real jump.

Perhaps this is what is needed on cycle training courses - wear old clothes for a day of falling off a bike. After all most cycle dismounts are cunningly controlled crashes.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [539 posts]
7th April 2014 - 18:02

216 Likes

As a kid it was a right of passage to come clattering down onto your toptube - usually when landing after a ridiculously stupid ramp jump.
My child rearing was nearly stopped before it had even started by getting my goolies trapped on a badly designed Raleigh Strika headset.
Happy days

posted by Some Fella [897 posts]
7th April 2014 - 19:37

216 Likes

Daily Mail story on this does laughably include the advice to stay safe and wear a helmet

http://t.co/yY5fxwPrGN

posted by gazza_d [358 posts]
7th April 2014 - 20:47

206 Likes

Just had a flashback which has left me in a cold sweat.

Here is the recipe for disaster.
Take one young idiot full of raging hormones.
The object of his pubescent desires.
An impossible jump.
A Raleigh Bomber (probably the worst bike to choose)

Result.
One Raleigh Bomber with buckled wheels, bent forks and a broken frame.
Object of desire leaves with someone else. This is not important as our 'hero' is now a crumpled heap, clutching his balls and wondering if a) the flashing lights will stop, b) the pain will ever go away, c) should he pluck up the courage to count them and d) will he ever have children? D Oh D Oh

Do they really need us to connect the dots for them? This has probably been happening since the dawn of the bicycle.

"Hold my pint and watch this!" Big Grin

posted by levermonkey [524 posts]
7th April 2014 - 22:23

224 Likes

One of the more important cycling lessons I've learned in recent years: before setting off on, say, a 100 mile time trial, it's important to make sure you've packed your "luggage" carefully. Adjustment while moving in a skinsuit is impossible and 100 mile TTs are unpleasant enough without the additional discomfort of spending the whole ride with crushed plums.

posted by SteppenHerring [253 posts]
7th April 2014 - 22:44

217 Likes

SteppenHerring wrote:
One of the more important cycling lessons I've learned in recent years: before setting off on, say, a 100 mile time trial, it's important to make sure you've packed your "luggage" carefully. Adjustment while moving in a skinsuit is impossible and 100 mile TTs are unpleasant enough without the additional discomfort of spending the whole ride with crushed plums.

I know the sensation and agree about sorting out the junk. But the point at which you desist from trying to pop a bollock for the sake of a new timing record comes pretty early with me.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1479 posts]
8th April 2014 - 4:36

206 Likes

Been there, done it. My defective Raleigh chopper sheared its bottom bracket on its maiden voyage whilst I was struggling up a hill (well it was a small incline but to a seven year old it was a big hill!), I can't imagine a worse bike for this to happen on, with a perfectly placed instrument to inflict maximum damage. That bike was replaced by a Raleigh grifter, which had a habit of slipping into neutral on that same incline with similar, though not so catastrophic, results......

posted by caaad10 [150 posts]
8th April 2014 - 7:40

195 Likes

My painful crossbar education began at a very early age, I suspect it was the same for a good many more.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1084 posts]
8th April 2014 - 8:48

206 Likes

I am sure most of these injuries are kids trying jumps. As we all did in our youth.

My "favourite" juvenile groinal bike injury happened playing bike polo with a broom, when I managed to ram one end into the ground and one end into my bits while riding at speed.

All brooms should come with a health warning.

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [217 posts]
8th April 2014 - 8:58

203 Likes

rich22222 wrote:
erm helmets.

Literally protection for knobs...

posted by jacknorell [876 posts]
8th April 2014 - 9:57

210 Likes

My dad made me a pair of ramps from big lumps of wood. Just thick triangles really, but there wasn't enough weight at the thin end, so if you went up them slowly, once the front wheel was at the top, the ramp would flip and the thin end would hit the chainring at just the right angle for unstoppable force/immovable object, and a nuts/tube interface would result. The only solution was to hit the jump at high speed so the back wheel was on the ramp before it could flip!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3646 posts]
8th April 2014 - 10:24

193 Likes

I think the Fizik Arione saddle is responsible for at least 50% of all incidents. That thing is the testicle anti christ.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [470 posts]
8th April 2014 - 12:05

198 Likes

Edgeley wrote:
I am sure most of these injuries are kids trying jumps. As we all did in our youth.

My "favourite" juvenile groinal bike injury happened playing bike polo with a broom, when I managed to ram one end into the ground and one end into my bits while riding at speed.

All brooms should come with a health warning.

Is it wrong that I laughed like a drain when I pictured you lancing your self in the joy department with a broom while riding a bike?

Having said that I made the mistake of riding a slicked up MTB over a drain cover that had been put in the wrong way, the back wheel dropped right into the slot stopping the bike dead - while I continued moving forwards, love spuds first toward the stem

posted by MKultra [369 posts]
8th April 2014 - 15:32

196 Likes

Kids hurt themselves on bike? Really?
Of course, no kids ever hurt themselves doing other things like falling over, or out of trees, or running into lamposts, or playing soccer, or tennis, or ......

Binky

posted by davebinks [135 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:29

194 Likes

Kids hurt themselves on bike? Really?
Of course, no kids ever hurt themselves doing other things like falling over, or out of trees, or running into lamposts, or playing soccer, or tennis, or ......

And If I recall correctly (it was a long time ago) the jewels didn't descend until I was reaching puberty, by which time I had learnt some common sense about what was likely to lead to painful occurrences.

Binky

posted by davebinks [135 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:32

184 Likes

Makes I laugh. It does hurt the ladygarden too mind you.
I think it might not help the kiddies that we often don't give them padded shorts to wear, which does cushion the old area to some extent. I would eat my fingers off rather than go for a longish ride in standard issue pants, so it seems a bit unfair on them.

I wonder if any studies have been done on the protection from injury provided by pads. It would struggle to get through ethics I think.

posted by MrsK [40 posts]
8th April 2014 - 18:41

185 Likes

MrsK wrote:
Makes I laugh. It does hurt the ladygarden too mind you.
I think it might not help the kiddies that we often don't give them padded shorts to wear, which does cushion the old area to some extent. I would eat my fingers off rather than go for a longish ride in standard issue pants, so it seems a bit unfair on them.

I wonder if any studies have been done on the protection from injury provided by pads. It would struggle to get through ethics I think.

Ok, can I have some volunteers for the control group?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Hello?!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3646 posts]
8th April 2014 - 23:40

187 Likes

[[[[[ Often due to lack of toeclips (or "clipless" pedals), innit. Front-end shunt? Let the the bike takes the brunt. These folks who say, "Ooh no---I want my feet free of the pedals"....I'm tired of talking to them. Newton might as well have been a greengrocer.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [320 posts]
13th April 2014 - 15:41

182 Likes