Active living, especially in more rural areas, may mean a higher use of all-terrain vehicles, but more and more older Americans may be at risk for injuries because of them, according to two studies published in Southern Medical Journal.
Also called four-wheelers, the vehicles are commonly used for recreational use on trails or to survey larger properties that may not have easy road access.
But a trauma center in Tennessee is reporting that about one-fifth of the ATV injuries it treated were from riders who were over the age of 50.
They were subject to extended hospital stays because of a high frequency of severe chest injuries, according to lead author Dr George M.
Testerman, and about 20 percent of the accidents were due to intoxicated riders.
At West Virginia University, researchers found that ATV operators over the age of 65 increased by one and a half times between 1985-98 and 1999-2007.
"Helmet usage, avoidance of alcohol and drugs while riding, and instruction in proper technique of the vehicle remain paramount in preventing traumatic injury," wrote Dr. Michael Catenacci in an editorial accompanying the two studies.