Background Recent Global Burden of Disease estimates highlight the high burden associated with injury, especially road trauma. However, these estimates, based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9/ICD-10), did not specifically identify sports injuries.
Objective To compare the public health burden of sport and road traffic injury, for children <15 years over a 7-year period in Victoria, Australia.
Design Analysis of data for non-fatal hospital-treated sports injuries and road traffic injury cases for children aged <15 years in Victoria, Australia over 2004–2010, inclusive. Data included: all Victorian public and private hospitalizations, using ICD-10-Australian modification (ICD-10-AM) activity codes to identify sport-related cases and ICD-10-AM cause and location codes to identify road traffic injuries; injury presentations to 38 Victorian public hospital emergency departments, using a combination of the available activity, cause and location codes.
Main outcome Mmeasurements Trends in injury frequency were analysed by log-linear Poisson regression. Population-level injury burden was assessed in terms of years lived with disability (YLDs), hospital bed-days and direct hospital costs.
Results Over the 7-year period, the annual frequency of hospital-treated sports injury increased significantly by 29% (N=7405 to N=9923; P<.001) but the frequency of hospital-treated road traffic injury decreased by 26% (N=1841 to N=1334; P<.001). Sports injury accounted for a larger population health burden than did road traffic injury: 3.0X the number of YLDs (7324.8 vs. 2453.9); 1.9X the number of bed-days (26,233 vs. 13,886); and 2.6X the direct hospital costs ($5·9 m vs. $2.2 m).
Conclusions The significant 7-year increase in frequency of hospital-treated sports injury and significantly higher injury population-health burden for sports injury, compared with road traffic injury, for children aged <15 years provides additional incentive for prioritising sports injury prevention in this age group.