Sport, age, and sex speciﬁc incidence of sportsinjuries in Western Australia
Mark R Stevenson, Peter Hamer, Caroline F Finch, Bruce Elliot, Marcie-jo Kresnow
—To describe the trends in rec-reational sports injury in Perth, WesternAustralia.
—A prospective cohort study of sports injuries during the 1997 winter sea-son (May to September).
—Sample of Australian football,ﬁeld hockey, basketball, and netball play-ers from the Perth metropolitan area,Western Australia.
—A cohort of sports participantswas followed over the ﬁve month wintersports season. Before the season, partici-pants completed a baseline questionnaireand during the season were interviewedevery four weeks by telephone.
—Overall,92% of participants (n =1391) who completed a baseline question-naire completed at least one follow uptelephone interview. About half (51%) of the cohort sustained one or more injuriesduring the winter season accounting for atotal of 1034 injuries.Most injuries were of moderate (58%, n = 598) or minor (40%, n= 412) severity, with only 3% (n = 24)requiring emergency department treat-ment or a hospital stay. The injuryincidence rate was greatest for football(20.3/1000 hours of participation), similarfor ﬁeld hockey and basketball (15.2/1000hours and 15.1/1000 hours respectively),and lowest for netball (12.1/1000 hours).The incidence of injury was greatest in theﬁrst four weeks of the season, and partici-pants aged between 26 and 30 years hadabout a 55% greater risk of injury thanthose aged less than 18 years.
—This is one of the ﬁrst stud-ies to show that recreational sports aresafe. Although the likelihood of injury wasgreatest in the ﬁrst month of the season,few injuries required admission to hospi-taloremergencydepartmenttreatment.Agreater emphasis on prevention in theearly part of the season should help toreduce the elevated incidence of injuryfound at this time.
Br J Sports Med
:188–194)Keywords: injury incidence; prospective study; time atrisk
There has been an increase in participation inregular physical activity among Australians.
This is partly in response to the role it plays inthe management and prevention of a numberof conditions such as coronary heart disease,
diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension,
andmental health disorders.
Although participa-tion in regular physical activity is beingpromoted, attention is also being focused onanother important health goal for Australia: todecrease the incidence and severity of injuriesassociated with sport and recreationalactivities.
With increased participation insport, the potential for an increase in thenumber of injuries is likely. As such, thebeneﬁts attributed to sport and recreationalpursuitsshouldbeconsideredinthelightofthephysical risks as well as the direct and indirectcosts associated with injury.Sport related injuries are of concerninternationally,
as they have a signiﬁcantsocial and economic impact on society. It isestimated that each year one in 17 Australiansis injured su
ciently while playing sport tomiss a game or training, to leave the ﬁeld of play, or to seek medical or ﬁrst aid attention.
Three quarters of these injuries have beenreported to occur in eight popular sports: Aus-tralian football, rugby league, rugby union,soccer, netball, basketball, ﬁeld hockey, andcricket.
Sports injuries are estimated to costthe Australian community about one billionAustralian dollars a year.
Despite these ﬁgures, there are only limiteddata about the occurrence of sports injuries inAustralia, particularly at the community levelof participation.
One of the major reasons forthis is that surveillance of sports injuries is par-ticularly di
A review of emergencydepartment or hospital admission records willonly identify the more severe injuries.
Also,the records are not comprehensive because of the lack of appropriate classiﬁcation of sportsinjuries under the
International Classiﬁcation of Diseases,Ninth Revision
external cause of injurycodes. Furthermore, it is di
cult to deﬁne thepopulation at risk. Hence, it is virtually impos-sible to calculate the incidence of sports injury.Therefore, although there has been a docu-mented increase in the number of peopleactively involved in sport and recreationalactivities,
the full extent of the sports injuryproblem is still to be elucidated.Ingeneral,sportsinjuryresearchinAustraliahas been fragmented,
with most of theresearch focusing on a limited number of sports and often only including eliteathletes.
Consequently, few studies haveproducedinformationaboutthewidersportingcommunity. Furthermore, it is likely that inju-ries incurred at the community level of partici-pation di
er from those for elite and profes-sional players. It is important therefore tounderstand the incidence and nature of sportsinjuries at the community level. Continued
Br J Sports Med
Department of Epidemiology andBiostatistics, School of Public Health, CurtinUniversity of Technology, Perth,Australia
M R Stevenson
National Center forInjury Prevention andControl, Centers forDisease Control andPrevention, Atlanta,Georgia, USA
M R StevensonM-J Kresnow
Department of HumanMovement andExercise Science,University of WesternAustralia, Perth,Australia
P HamerB Elliot
School of HealthSciences, DeakinUniversity, Melbourne,Australia
C F Finch
Correspondence to:Dr Stevenson, Departmentof Epidemiology andBiostatistics, School of Public Health, CurtinUniversity of Technology,GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA6845, AustraliaAccepted for publication11 November 1999