Fractures of the facial bones present an even more complex problem. The most frequent site of bony injury is the zygoma (cheekbone). Fractures of the zygoma account for approximately 10% of the maxillofacial fractures seen in sports injuries, occurring as a result of direct blunt trauma from a fall, elbow, or fist.12 In a study by Linn and others, of the 319 patients treated for sports-related injuries, males proved to be more prone to zygomatic fractures than females.13 Like the zygoma, the prominent shape and projection of the mandible causes it to be more traumatized than the maxilla. Approximately 10% of maxillofacial fractures from sporting activities occur in the mandible when the athlete strikes a hard surface, another player, or sporting equipment. In a mandibular fracture, airway management is the most important aspect of immediate care.14 In both children and adults, the condyle is the most vulnerable part of the mandible. Fractures in this region have the potential for long-term facial deformity. Recent data suggest that condylar fractures in children can alter growth of the lower face.11
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