New hospital data shows which sports are sending Victorians to hospital

New data compiled by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has shed light on which sports are most likely to send participants to hospital.

MUARC’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU) has analysed 171,541 presentations to Emergency Departments (ED) in Victoria for sports and active recreation injuries from 2012/13 to 2014/15.

The study was aimed at finding which sports have the highest rates of injury per participant and to assess the effects of age and the type of sport on the rate of serious injury.

Sports most commonly associated with ED presentations among people 5 years or older were Australian football, motor sports, and cycling/BMX.

The study found that sports associated with the highest number of ED presentations were not the same as those with the highest rate of presentations per participant. The highest injury rates per participant (among people aged 15 years or more) were for motor sports, rugby, and skateboarding/inline hockey/roller sports.

Serious injuries which required participants to be admitted to hospital after the ED presentations were most commonly associated with horse-riding and motor sports.

Lead author Tara Fernando said the data highlighted the sports that should be the focus of greater injury prevention measures.

“Sports and physical recreation activity is becoming an integral part of the Victorian lifestyle and past evidence suggests that injuries resulting from such activity is on the rise,” she said.

“The study indicates which sports would benefit most from efforts to reduce the general risk of injury and serious injury.”

Apart from type of activity, age and gender also affected the severity of the injury. There was a significant association between higher age and the need for hospital admission after the ED presentation.

Males accounted for 91,333 (72%) of ED presentations. These presentations were most likely to relate to Australian football and motor sports. For females, ED presentations were most likely to be related to netball.

The authors noted that more data was required to understand the settings (such as organised versus recreational sport) in which activities were undertaken to better target preventive measures.

Link to the full study