Sport injuries on rise for older kids
ACTIVE youngsters are increasingly crowding out weekend emergency rooms with an alarming new study revealing the hospitalisation rate for sporting injuries endured by children aged 11 to 16 has jumped more than 10 per cent over a decade.
About 13,000 kids are hospitalised every year for various sports injuries, costing the Australian health system about $40 million annually.
News Corp Australia can reveal that baffled experts are now pushing for a national injury prevention strategy to help reduce sports injuries and keep kids safe on the field.
A new Macquarie University study showed the overall rate of sporting injury remained stable around 280 per 100,000 population - or one hospitalisation per 350 children over a 10-year period to 2012.
But in a worrying trend, it also found that for older children aged over 11 and up to 16 years, the rate of sporting-related injury had increased by more than 1 per cent each year.
However, the numbers balanced out because the rate among younger kids under 11 declined on average 2 per cent each year.
The study also found team ball sports and wheeled-non motor sports such as cycling accounted for almost two-thirds of hospitalisations - 43 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
Boys made up three-quarters of those needing hospitalisation and were significantly more likely to require medical attention for team ball sports than girls - 48.6 per cent compared to 25 per cent.
Lead author Dr Reidar Lystad, from the university's Australian Institute of Health Innovation, said the results were "disappointing" and showed government injury prevention programs such as the KNEE Netball and Smart Rugby were failing to produce population-level improvements.
"You would think the cumulative effect of all of those efforts would have some sort of impact on the rates declining ... and unfortunately it turns out that doesn't seem to be the case," Dr Lystad said.
He said scattergun prevention methods were "perhaps not rolled out completely" whereas a national injury prevention strategy would be a more co-ordinated approach.
Dr Damien McKay from the Children's Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine agreed a strategy was needed even though "there's an increasing awareness of concussion and the concept of overtraining".
Sam Green, 12, broke his femur six weeks ago playing rugby at Penshurst West Public School.
His mum Hollie, 30, said it was unfortunate but "injuries just happen in sport".
"It doesn't matter what you introduce, they're always going to find a way to hurt themselves," she said.