Feasibility of Improved Data Collection Methodologies for Sports Injuries

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #69 - 1995

Authors: C. Finch, J. Ozanne-Smith & F. Williams

Full report in .pdf format [9.6MB]


Sports and recreational injuries are a cost burden on both individuals and society with respect to the duration and nature of treatment, the amount of sports and working time lost, permanent damage and disability, reduced quality of life and monetary costs. Their prevention must be a major public health goal. Whilst there has been an increased awareness of the occurrence of sports injuries, and some successful countermeasures have been used to prevent a limited number of such injuries, the picture in Australia remains fragmented. In particular, there is a lack of data about the circumstances of injury and potential points of intervention in the chain of events leading to injury. Furthermore, comprehensive information on participation rates and player hours is needed to determine the relative risks of injury in various sports and to target interventions.

Given a framework for injury prevention, it is important that a system of sports injury surveillance is developed. The current lack of clear, coherent and relevant data for Australia makes this a priority. This report therefore provides the results of a feasibility study of improved data collection methodologies for sports injuries for Australia.

This study summarises the existing data collections that provide information on sports injuries within Australia and overseas, including their limitations. The results of a survey of key sports and other relevant professional bodies are also presented to describe the current barriers to sports injury data collections. Together, these form the basis for determining the feasibility of establishing improved data collection methodologies for sports injury in Australia.

Recommendations include the identification of a lead agency, collaboration between the health and sports sectors, increased involvement of sports bodies in data collection activities, provision of infrastructure support for these activities, enhancement of government data collections, development of standardised data collection procedures and coding systems and improved training.

Sponsors: National Sports Research Program, Australian Sports Commission and Victorian Health Promotion Foundation