Trends and incidence of sports injury-related hospitalisations in Australian children: a 10-year nationwide population-based cohort study

R. Lystad, K. Curtis, G. Browne, R. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Injury is a leading cause of death and disability among children worldwide, and participation in sport and active recreation is a common contributor to this burden. To date there have been no nationwide population-based study examining trends in sports-related injury among Australian children. This study aims to (1) quantify and describe the incidence and cost of sports injury-related hospitalisations in Australian children, and (2) examine the temporal trend over a 10-year period.

Methods: This population-based cohort study used linked hospitalisation and mortality data of children aged ≤16 years who were hospitalised for sports-related injury in Australia during 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2012. Age-standardised incidence rates were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Negative binomial regression was used to examine temporal trends in incidence rates.

Results: There were 130,167 sports injury-related hospitalisations of Australian children aged ≤16 years during the 10-year study period. The overall incidence rate was 281.0 (95%CI: 279.5–282.6) per 100,000 population. The incidence rate in male children (419.7 [95%CI: 417.1–422.4] per 10,000 population) was more than three times that of female children (134.8 [95%CI: 133.2–136.3] per 100,000 population). There was no significant annual decline in the overall incidence rate during the 10-year study period (−1.05% [95%CI: −3.01% to 0.95%]; p = 0.302); however, differences in trends were observed between sexes and age groups. The most common sports activities resulting in injury-related hospitalisation were team ball sports (43.1%) and wheeled non-motor sport (22.3%). The estimated total hospital treatment costs of sports injury among Australian children was AUD$39.6 million per year, with an estimated mean cost per injured child of $3058.

Discussion: There has been no significant decline in sports injury-related hospitalisation rates among Australian children during 2002–03 to 2011–12. This suggests that child sports injury prevention initiatives in Australia to date have either been inadequate or ineffective. There is a clear need to develop and implement a national injury prevention strategy to reduce the burden of sports injuries among Australian children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S22
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Event2018 Sports Medicine Australia Conference - Perth, Australia
Duration: 10 Oct 201813 Oct 2018


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