AIHW news

Release of the National Sports Injury data strategy for consultation

The article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Marissa Veld, Head of the Injury and System Surveillance Unit

Australia is a sporting nation and participating in sport improves our health and wellbeing, however, these benefits are not without risk of injury.

Australia currently lacks a national data collection that can provide information about the frequency and cause of sports injury to help improve injury prevention and management and help Australians stay active throughout their life.

In identifying the data gap, the AIHW has opened consultation to the National sport injury data strategy, a paper that outlines how a National Sports Injury Data Asset (NSIDA) could be developed and operate.

In partnership with Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), the AIHW project is investigating the existing and potential data sources for sports injury. The aim is to investigate the development of a NSIDA that could:

  • provide insight into the types and causes of sports injury in the community
  • help sports bodies and their participants to understand where injury prevention programs are needed
  • provide ongoing surveillance to monitor trends and evaluate injury prevention programs.

Also today, the AIHW is releasing the first stage of work, Economics of sports injury and participation – Preliminary results, aimed at better understanding the potential savings to be gained through improving injury prevention and management and increasing physical activity across the Australian population. 

The findings show that around three quarters of a billion dollars is spent each year on managing relatively severe injuries that were associated with inadequate injury prevention and management during physical activity ($764 million in 2018-19).

Preliminary estimates presented in this report however are conservative, and do not represent the full cost of injuries and benefits from physical activity participation, due to current data limitations.

Have your say on the National sports injury data strategy

We’re consulting with sports organisations, health-care providers, insurers and government agencies to better understand how sports injury data are currently reported, and potential ways to improve data collection in community sport. 

As part of the project, a new online sports injury data collection tool is being piloted to fill a gap in community reporting. This tool will be used by players, parents, coaches and trainers to record injuries. 

Improved sports injury data will help us to understand the impact and causes of sports injury, improve injury prevention and management, and help Australians make more informed decisions regarding sport participation. This will benefit individuals and their quality of life, the sports sector, and the Australian health care system.

If you’re interested in providing feedback on the proposed data strategy as an individual or on behalf of an organisation, please complete the survey, email [email protected] or call the project team on (02) 6249 5292 until 18 April 2022.

Keep an eye out in March 2022 for the related report, Hospitalised sports injury in Australia, 2019–20.

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