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Cost of Sports Injuries

Increasing participation in sport and physical activity is a key policy objective of Australian governments at all levels. The weight of evidence supporting the benefits of sport and physical activity is substantial. Insufficient physical activity has both immediate and long-term ‘costs’ for individuals as well as population-wide health and wellbeing.

Physical activity and sport participation will always carry a risk of activity related injuries. These risks can be better managed by: (1) education regarding what is ‘safe practice’; (2) relevant data collection and research to more accurately assess risks and develop mediating strategies; (3) implementation of strategies and programs at all levels of organised sport; and, (4) public awareness of the benefits and risks of physical activity, particularly during unsupervised activities.

Key messages


In 2018-19 the estimated cost of treating physical activity related injuries in hospitals was AU$764million, while managing health conditions due to physical inactivity cost the health system AU$968million.


The sport and health-care sectors can reduce the incidence and severity of many injuries by implementing evidence based policies, programs and intervention strategies.

Data and research

A comprehensive sports injury surveillance system would provide valuable information for the development of policies and programs designed to reduce injury risks.


State of play

Currently there are limited data sources available to estimate the size and scope of sports injury in Australia. A variety of factors have been identified which may increase a person's risk of being injured.

Cost-benefit considerations

The benefits of sport and physical activity are well established, but the risk of injury associated with physical activity is also real and can have significant personal and societal costs.

Research and data collection

The lack of detailed and up-to-date information on the prevalence and cost of sports injuries has hampered efforts to establish more comprehensive sports injury prevention measures.

Policies, programs and initiatives to prevent injuries

Key areas of research

Sport injury prevention
Many injury risk factors are modifiable, but consistent implementation and adherance are barriers to achieving the full benefits of Injury prevention programs.

Impact and prevention in elite sport
Reducing the incidence and severity of injuries and illness are key areas of research in the high performance sport sector.

Related Topics

Evaluated by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by: Australasian Sport Information Network
Last updated: 23 March 2022
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer


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