Participation in sport is beneficial in reducing the number and severity of the rising number of chronic conditions in the Australian population, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and certain types of cancer. However, the risk of injury may impact participation in sports perceived to have high injury rates or consequences.
Australia does not have a national sport injury data collection that incorporates community sport. Without good quality data, it is difficult to understand the positive impacts of sports participation in the context of the risks associated with injury. Furthermore, this makes it difficult to understand the true risks of participation in community sport, or the effectiveness of injury prevention policies and programs.
In 2016-17 almost 60,000 people were hospitalised for sports injuries, with men twice as likely to be hospitalised as women. However, national data on non-hospitalised sports injuries are not readily available from emergency departments, general practitioner clinics, sports medicine centres, or allied health practitioners such as physiotherapists (Hospitalised sports injury in Australia, 2016-17).
Hospitalised sport injuries represent only a small proportion of all sport injuries. The 2004-05 National Health Survey estimated that less than 10% of persons with a sporting activity injury attended a hospital which includes Emergency Department visits. The 2005 NSW Population Health Survey estimated that less than 3% of organised sport injuries in persons aged 16 and over had a hospital admission.
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