Direct and indirect costs associated with injury in sub-elite football in Australia: A population study using 3 years of sport insurance records
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Objectives: To determine the direct and indirect costs of injuries in sub-elite footballers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, stratified by injury location, type, sex and age groups. Design: Descriptive epidemiological study. Methods: A de-identified insurance database containing three seasons (2018–2020) of football injuries in NSW was used to determine injury costs. Injuries were coded using the Orchard Sports Injury and Illness Classification System. Claim costs are presented by age group (Junior = 7–17 years, Senior = 18–34 years, and Veteran = 35+ years), sex and injury location and type. Cost data are reported as means ± standard deviation (SD) with 95 % Confidence Intervals (CI). Results: There were 4145 total injury claims, totalling AU$13,716,173, at a mean cost of $3309 (95 % CI 3042–3577) per injury. Joint sprains accrued the largest costs ($6,665,938) with knee injuries accounting for just under half of the total costs of all injuries over the three-season period (49.1 %). ACL injuries accounted for 26.2 % of total costs with a high mean cost per injury ($4564 SD ± 346) alongside lower limb fractures ($4787 SD ± 425) and tendon ruptures ($4659 SD ± 1053). Despite only 22.5 % of injuries accruing indirect costs, these costs accounted for 70.2 % of the total cost ($9,623,665) with the mean indirect cost per injury being ten-times higher than the mean direct cost per injury ($10,337 vs. $987, respectively). Conclusions: Knee injuries (mainly ACL ruptures), joint sprains, fractures and tendon ruptures are the costliest injuries in sub-elite football in NSW. With effective preventative measures available, there is potential to reduce injury rates and subsequent costs.