Background: Soccer injuries constitute an important public health problem and cause a high economic burden. Nevertheless, comprehensive data regarding injury costs in nonprofessional soccer are missing. The aim of this study was to determine which groups of nonprofessional soccer athletes, injury types, and injury situations caused high injury costs.
Methods: A cross-sectional, retrospective telephone survey was carried out with a random sample of persons who had sustained a soccer injury between July 2013 and June 2014 and who had reported this accident to the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva). One year after the corresponding accident, every injury was linked to its costs and to the answers obtained in the interview about injury setting, injury characteristics, and injury causes. Finally, the costs of 702 injuries were analyzed.
Results: The average cost of an injury in nonprofessional soccer amounted to €4030 (bias-corrected and accelerated 95% confidence interval (BCa 95%CI): 3427-4719). Persons aged 30 years and older experienced 35% of soccer injuries but accounted for 49% of all costs. A total of 58% of all costs were the result of injuries that occurred during amateur games. In particular, game injuries sustained by players in separate leagues for players aged 30+/40+ years led to high average costs of €8190 (BCa 95%CI: 5036-11,645). Knee injuries accounted for 25% of all injuries and were responsible for 53% of all costs. Although contact and foul play did not lead to above-average costs, twisting or turning situations were highly cost relevant, leading to an average sum of €7710 (BCa 95%CI: 5376-10,466) per injury.
Conclusion: Nonprofessional soccer players aged 30 years and older and particularly players in 30+/40+ leagues had above-average injury costs. Furthermore, the prevention of knee injuries, noncontact and nonfoul play injuries, and injuries caused by twisting and turning should be of highest priority in decreasing health care costs.
Keywords: Amateur soccer; Cost analysis; Injury causes; Injury characteristics; Injury costs.
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