This was one of the findings presented by Monash University’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit at the recent national Bone and Joint Australia Keeping Australians Moving Forum.
Leading sports injury epidemiologist, Professor Caroline Finch from Monash University’s Accident Research Centre said that it was imperative to do more to prevent sports injury which is largely being ignored as an issue by government and sporting authorities.
“Everyone acknowledges that road traffic accidents are a serious issue with billions of dollars spent every year addressing the subject. The same can’t be said about sports injury,” said Professor Finch.
“Sports injury is widely recognised as a key barrier to participation in sport and recreation. In addition to the direct costs of treating sports injuries, the long term impact of sports injury is further emerging as a major health issue.
“Sports injury is causing greater concern than just spending time on the sidelines. Being inactive is making it impossible for many people to carry out their daily lives, let alone be more physically active. The knock on effect of this is a less active and more obese community,” said Professor Finch.
Sports physician and Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson Dr Peter Larkins agrees highlighting the long term costs associated with certain sports injuries.
“We know that over 10,000 ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears are operated on every year, many of which are preventable. However what is largely unknown is that 50 per cent of people experiencing these types of injuries are likely to require a knee replacement in later life,” said Dr Larkins.
“Let alone the personal impact of developing osteoarthritis, at a cost of about $20,000 per knee replacement you start to understand why this is such a major issue and something must be done to stop the personal pain and the drain on the public purse,” said Dr Larkins.
“We know all this, yet nothing seems to be done about it. Many sports injuries can be prevented. Their impact and associated costs can be diminished. But financial backing is needed,” said Professor Finch.
“Through the prevention of sports injuries not only will the community see the lifetime associated costs decrease but people will also have access to a better quality of life and the ability to maintain their health,” said Dr Larkins.