Economic consequences of injury in female Australian footballers: A prospective observational study of emergency department presentations

Stephen D. Gill, Julian Stella, Mary Lou Chatterton, Nicole Lowry, Kate Kloot, Tom Reade, Tim Baker, Georgina Hayden, Matthew Ryan, Hugh Seward, Richard S. Page

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Objective: Investigate the economic consequences of injuries to female Australian footballers from a health sector and societal perspective. Methods: This prospective observational study invited 242 females to complete an online questionnaire 3–6 months following an Australian football injury which involved presentation to an ED in Victoria, Australia. The questionnaire inquired regarding healthcare use, time off work, return to playing football and extent of recovery following injury. Relevant information was also extracted from respondents' medical records regarding injury-type, body part injured, investigations and treatments. Healthcare costs were determined for each respondent's ED presentation, hospital admission/s (when relevant), and subsequent healthcare use. Societal costs were determined as lost income to the respondent and/or carer. Results: A total of 108 people responded to the questionnaire. Sprains/strains and fractures accounted for 84.2% of respondents' injuries. Sixteen respondents (14.8%) required admission to hospital at the time of injury and 81 (75.0%) required subsequent healthcare appointments following discharge from the ED or hospital. Time off work or school following the injury was common (64.8% of respondents) and 27.8% of respondents had a carer take time off work. More than 80% of respondents missed training and matches following the injury. The median healthcare cost per respondent was AUD$753 and the median cost due to work absence was AUD$1393. One-quarter of respondents reported a full recovery. Conclusions: Injuries to female Australian footballers can produce substantial healthcare and societal costs, which has important implications for healthcare provision and prioritising and implementing injury prevention programmes and post-injury rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-503
Number of pages8
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Australian football
  • economic analysis
  • emergency medical service
  • female footballer
  • sports-related injury

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