In the pilot phase of a national study of the incidence of exercise-related morbidity (ERM), funded by the Sports Council, a questionnaire about recent participation in 'active sports and other recreational activities involving vigorous physical exercise' and associated injuries or illnesses was sent to a sample of 6744 people aged 16 to 65 years in two areas. Interviews with 101 respondents were held to validate the questions. Return rates of 73 and 81% from the two areas were achieved and results from the interviews indicated that sports and injuries were being reported sufficiently accurately on the postal questionnaires to yield reliable information. Of the 4961 usable returns, a total of 1249 respondents (25%) reported taking part in some activity in the 4 weeks before completing the questionnaire, and 137 (3%) reported 158 injury incidents. Nearly half (76, 48%) of these incidents resulted in some restriction in activity, and 21 resulted in some restriction in activity, and 21 resulted in a visit to a hospital casualty department. It is estimated that nationally 1-1.5 million episodes of ERM result annually in attendance at a hospital casualty department, and 4-5 million episodes of ERM result in some, usually temporary, incapacity.
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