Injuries are a major contributor to healthcare costs and individuals' health and disability status. In response to the overall public health burden, injuries were one of the first medical conditions identified as an Australian National Health Priority Area. Our previous epidemiological research has shown that sports injuries, especially those sustained through formal and highly competitive sport, are often associated with considerable pain and dysfunction. They have significant ongoing impact on quality of life and need for medical treatment, including in the hospital setting.They are also a major barrier towards both the uptake and continuance of health-generating physical activity guidance.
Objectives: Far fewer injury surveillance systems exist within community sport than elite sport. As a result, most epidemiological data on sports injuries have limited relevance to community-level sporting populations. There is potential for data from community club-based injury surveillance systems to provide a better understanding of community sports injuries. This study aimed to describe the incidence and profile of community-level Australian football injuries reported using a club-based injury surveillance system. Design: Prospective, epidemiological study. Methods: Sports trainers from five community-level Australian football leagues recorded injury data during two football seasons using the club-based system. An online surveillance tool developed by Sports Medicine Australia ('Sports Injury Tracker') was used for data collection. The injury incidence, profile and match injury rate were reported. Results: Injury data for 1205 players were recorded in season one and for 823 players in season two. There was significant variability in injury incidence across clubs. However, aggregated data were consistent across football seasons, with an average of 0.7 injuries per player per season and 38-39 match injuries per 1000. h match exposure. A large proportion of injuries occurred during matches, involved the lower limb and resulted from contact. Conclusions: Data from the club-based system provided a profile of injuries consistent with previous studies in community-level Australian football. Moreover, injury incidence was consistent with other studies using similar personnel to record data. However, injury incidence was lower than that reported in studies using player self-report or healthcare professionals and may be an underestimate of true values.