Soccer

An estimated 1.1 million Australians aged 15 and over played soccer in 2019–20.  There were 3,300 injury hospitalisations attributed to soccer—2,750 male and 530 female. This is 1,650 less hospitalisations than the year before. For those aged 15 and over, the rate of hospitalisation was about 228 per 100,000 participants.

The highest number of hospitalisations was in the 15–19 age group (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Age distribution of soccer injury hospitalisations, 2019–20

Column graph showing the age distribution of injury hospitalisations.

Source: AIHW NHMD.

For more detail, see data table A14.

Almost half of hospitalisations were fractures (49%), and one third were soft-tissue injuries (33%) (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Soccer injury hospitalisations, by type of injury as a proportion, 2019–20

Bar graph showing the proportion of injury hospitalisations by main type of injury.

Note: Type of injury is derived from the principal diagnosis.
Source: AIHW NHMD.

For more detail, see data table A25.

There were 153 hospitalisations for concussion (4.7%).

The main injury was most often to the hip and leg (47%), followed by the shoulder and arm (23%) (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Soccer injury hospitalisations, by body part injured, as a proportion, 2019–20

Outline of a person with body regions labelled, marked with the percentage of hospitalised injuries for each region.

Note: Body part injured is derived from the principal diagnosis.
Source: AIHW NHMD.

For more detail, see data table A26.

Where it was specified, the most common cause of injury was contact with another person (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Cause of injury as a proportion when specified, soccer injury hospitalisations, 2019–20

Bar graph showing the proportion of hospitalisations by cause of injury when specified.

Source: AIHW NHMD.

For more detail, see data table A27.

Seasonality and COVID-19

Because soccer is a winter sport, injury hospitalisations are usually highest between April and August. The interruption caused by COVID-19 lockdowns is evident in the drop in injuries from March 2020 (Figure 5). There were around 74% fewer hospitalisations from March to June in 2020 than the same period in 2019.

Figure 5: Soccer injury hospitalisations by month of admission, 2017–18 to 2019–20.

Line graph with 3 lines for 3 financial years of hospitalisations by month of admission, illustrating the drop in hospitalisations after March 2020.

Notes
1. Months have been standardised to 31 days.
2. A scale up factor has been applied to June admissions to account for cases not yet separated.

Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.  

For more detail, see data table B3.