Injury Prevention in Sport

This article or area is currently under construction and may only be partially complete. Please come back soon to see the finished work! (8/11/2019)

Original Editor - Wanda van Niekerk

Top Contributors - Wanda van Niekerk  


Physical activity and sports participation is encouraged by all health care professionals as it has numerous positive effects on a person's health. There is however, the significant burden of sport-related musculoskeletal injury, with the greatest risk being in the youth and young adult populations.[1] It is vital to incorporate primary injury prevention and make this a public health priority as this will have significant implications for reducing long-term consequences of musculoskeletal injuries, such as early post-traumatic osteoarthritis.[1]

The Importance of Sport Injury Prevention

One of the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle across the lifespan is physical activity and participation in sport and recreation is encouraged by all health care professionals. The sport-related injury burden is however significant and there is a need for research into the evaluation of injury prevention strategies in all sports across all ages.[2] The youth and young adult populations have the highest participation rates, but also the highest injury rates and sport is the leading cause of injury in youth.[3][4] Studies have shown that 20% of schoolchildren will miss at least one day of school per year due to sports injuries, and one in three youth seek medical attention for sports-related injuries per year. Even adults lose at least one day a year from work as a result of sport-related injury.[2][5] Sport is the the leading cause of all injuries in youth, but also has an impact on the adult population. Furthermore, the financial implications of sport-related injuries are huge. In Australia alone the direct cost of sport-related injury over a seven year period amounted to an estimated 265 million Australian dollars.[6] From these injury rates and high financial costs, it is clear that the injury-burden is significant and that there is a need to implement evidence-based injury prevention strategies to reduce the risk of injury in youth, and also across the lifespan. Lower extremity injuries are the highest overall burden of sport-related injury at 60%, of which 60% of these are ankle and knee joint injuries.[1]

Injuries in sport may also contribute to the rising burden of overweight and obesity in youth, with 8% of youth dropping out of sport per year because of injury or fear of injury.[7][8] This leads to a further decline in physical activity participation and this has negative implications (obesity, post-traumatic osteoarthritis) on future health. Reducing the significant burden of sport-related injury would have great impact on quality of life through the promotion of physical activity.[1]

Physical activity, sport and recreation is vital in youth and for all age groups to have a healthy lifestyle, to promote healthy growth and development, to prevent chronic disease and to reduce stress.These benefits from participation in sport and recreation has important implications for public health, but the injury risk must be balanced and addressed.[1]

Injury Prevention - A Systematic Approach

Sport Injury Prevention Programs - The Evidence


  • bulleted list
  • x


  1. numbered list
  2. x


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Emery CA, Pasanen K. Current trends in sport injury prevention. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2019 Feb;33(1):3-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Conn JM, Annest JL, Gilchrist J. Sports and recreation related injury episodes in the US population. Inj Prev 2003;9:117-23.
  3. Emery CA, Tyreman H. Sport participation, sport injury, risk factors and sport safety practices in Calgary and area junior high Schools. J Paediatr Child Health 2009;14:439-44.
  4. Emery CA, Meeuwisse WH, McAllister JR. A survey of sport participation, sport injury and sport safety practices in adolescents. Clin J Sport Med 2006;16:20-26.
  5. Emery C. Risk factors for injury in child and adolescent sport: a systematic review. Clin J Sport Med 2003;13:256e68
  6. Finch CF, Kemp JL, Clapperton AJ. The incidence and burden of hospital-treated sports related injury in people aged 15+ years in Victoria, Australia, 2004 - 2010: a future epidemic of osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2015;23:1138e43.
  7. de Onis M, Onyango AW, Borghi E, Siyam A, Nishida C, Siekmann J. Development of a WHO growth reference for schoolaged children and adolescents. Bull World Health Organ 2007;85:660-7.
  8. Grimmer KA, Jones D, Williams J. Prevalence of adolescent injury from recreational exercise: an Australian perspective. J Adolesc Health 2000;27:1-6.