Soccer and AFL: they’re supposedly the darlings of safety conscious mums across Australia.
But according to a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), both sports eclipse the rugby codes – league and union – when it comes to hospitalisation.
According to the report released yesterday, nearly a third of hospitalisations from all sports injuries in 2011 and 2012 came from the four football codes.
Of the those, AFL and soccer caused the most injuries. They accounted for with 18 and 17 cases per 100,000 people, respectively. Despite being viewed as more brutal, rugby league and union recorded less hospitalisations.
Sports trainer and student physiotherapist for the NRL Canterbury Bulldogs Under 20s team, Dominic Bullock, told The Newsroom that these statistics were not surprising considering the physicality of the sports.
“The stop start nature of football codes leads to many serious injuries to ankles, knees and shoulders that often can only be solved by surgical repair,” Bullock said.
“The contact nature of the sport increases forces in these joints leading to more serious injury.”
Fast paced water and motor sports also account for a considerable amount of hospitalisations. Combined with the four football codes, these three sports accounted for almost half (47 per cent) of all sports injury hospitalisations.
During 2011 to 2012, around 36,000 people aged 15 and over were hospitalised due to an injury sustained while playing sport, and spent a total of 79,000 days in hospital.
AFL and Rugby Union had the highest hospitalisation rates per capita, with 1319 and 1292 hospitalisations for each 100,000 participants, respectively.
Sports physiotherapist Nancy Ho echoed Mr Bulloch, saying that it’s very common for football injuries leading to hospitalisation.
“Football codes generally require a lot of emergency contact hours and a lot of injuries from these codes need surgery,” said Ms Ho. – Louis Dillon
Top photo from Luiz Filipe Carneiro Machado’s Flickr photostream.