Cost of Sports Injuries

Cost of Sports Injuries 
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Dr Alex Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 12 November 2018
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Increasing daily physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviour has many individual and societal benefits. Maintaining an acceptable level of physical activity is linked to a reduction in several risk factors that predict the onset or severity of disease.  Improving the health of the Australian population offers potential saving in future Government health care spending, as well as current and ongoing improvement in the quality of life.

Increasing participation in physical activity and sport, within and across all segments of the population, is a key policy objective of Governments. However, physical activity and sport participation will always carry a risk of acquiring activity related injuries.

The immediate and long-term ‘cost’ of sports related injuries results from:

  • Health care costs for treatment.
  • Health system costs for insurance.
  • Time and productivity lost to employment, school, and home activities.
  • Time lost to future sporting activities.
  • The cost of long-term physical, psychological or emotional damage.
  • Equipment and program costs for rehabilitation and prevention.

However, the immediate and long-term ‘cost’ of inactivity, or insufficient physical activity to stimulate health benefits, has a greater impact upon individuals as well as population-wide health and wellbeing.

More information can be found in the Clearinghouse portfolios, Preventive Health, Sport and Physical Activity and Physical Activity Guidelines

Key Messages 


The significant cost of sports injuries in Australia must be balanced against the long-term cost-benefit of a healthier population from greater lifelong participation in physical activity and sport.


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


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

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Please note a number of the resources below (as indicated) are restricted to ‘GOLD' AIS Advantage small AIS Advantage members only.
Please see the Clearinghouse membership categories for further information.
  • Exploring new frontiers of Pathway Research, Simon Rogers, AIS/Southern Cross University, Erin Smyth, AIS/University of Canberra, Claire Tompsett, University of Sydney, Winning Pathways Workshop (14 December 2017)
  • Holistic Health and Fitness in the US Army, Michael McGurk, Colonel (ret.), Department of the Army Civilian, Director of Research and Analysis for the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training and Dr Whitfield East, Co-lead, Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study, Professor/Department of Physical Education, United States Military Academy, Smart Talk Seminar Series (4 December 2017)
  • Enhancing sporting performance and understanding injury causation through computation modelling, Dr Paul Cleary, research scientist, Computational Modelling, CSIRO, AIS Smart Talk Seminar Series, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, (14 August 2014) - The Computational Modelling group at CSIRO have been developing realistic models of elite sporting activities since 2004 to provide otherwise unavailable data for understanding the relationships between technique, performance and injury risk.

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