Important note: The statements made in this paragraph about the cover provided by Flip insurance for accidental injuries and the amount of benefits payable relate to the Flip Active product dated 31 May 2023. That product was withdrawn and replaced with the new Flip Active product on 27 June 2023, which has a different scope of cover for accidental injuries. These statements do not describe the scope of cover under that new product. Please refer to the current Product Disclosure Statement for details of that cover.
If you play sport, you’ve probably copped an injury at some stage. But what are the most common sports injuries, and what should you do if you get one? Let’s find out.
Aussies love their sport, but it comes at a cost
Many sports involve speed, contact and general exertion, and this sometimes leads to accidents and injuries. Here are some interesting sports stats that give context to the scale of sports injuries in Australia:
- 82% of females and 79% of males participate in sport or physical activity at least once a week
- Over 50,000 people are hospitalised for sports injuries each year
- Around a third of those injuries are caused by falls
- Only 3% of sports injuries need hospitalisation, meaning there are around 1.6 million total sporting injuries per year.
- Aussies spend around $29.8 billion on out-of-pocket medical expenses each year. Ouch.
The five most common sports injuries in Australia and what to do if you get one
Fractures, soft tissue injuries, open wounds, head injuries and dislocations are the five most common types of hospitalised sports injuries in Australia.
This list of what to do if you get injured is general advice, and you should always see a doctor if you get hurt. That said, knowing how to respond in an emergency is important. We suggest familiarising yourself with the DRSABCD guidelines as a starting point and if you do a lot of sport, consider taking a first aid course.
Here are our tips on managing the five most common sporting injuries.
- Fractures: fractures can be caused by falls, crashes, awkward landings or general overuse. They account for over half of all sports injury hospitalisations. If you think you might have a fracture, keep it as still as possible and see a doctor pronto.
- Soft tissue injuries: soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains and tears are common sporting injuries that account for around 20% of sports injury hospitalisations. Treat mild pain, swelling and stiffness in limbs and joints with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), but if the pain is severe or mild symptoms persist, seek medical advice.
- Open wounds: some cuts can be patched up with a band-aid but others can be life-threatening. Over 7% of sports injury hospitalisations were for open wounds. Stem the bleeding and call 000 to get help fast if there’s significant bleeding.
- Head injuries: Intracranial injuries like concussions caused by a blow to the head account for 5% of sports injury hospitalisations. Head injuries can be serious, so act fast and follow DRSABCD.
- Dislocations: Dislocations happen when the bones of a joint get knocked out of place, which can occur during sporting falls or contact. Around 4% of all sporting hospitalisations are from dislocations. If you think you’ve dislocated a joint, get medical help immediately. Don’t try to relocate it yourself because you risk causing more damage.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Injury prevention is always better than cure. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from injuries:
- Warm up and cool down
- Increase activity slowly
- Don’t exert yourself beyond your capability
- Stay in control and be mindful of others around you
- Use safety equipment
Injuries can be expensive
Injuries are an almost inevitable part of the sporting lifestyle and they can be expensive. We’re lucky to have the safety net of Medicare, but it doesn’t cover you for all costs. You’ll often be stuck paying for things like dental care, ongoing out-of-hospital rehab and hidden recovery costs like taxis, food deliveries and medicine.
If you’re active like most Australians are, it could be worth considering sports insurance to cover you for accidental sporting injuries. Flip’s pay-as-you-go insurance has options to get cover for a single day for $7, a single week for $25 or a monthly subscription for $40 a month. Get covered instantly before you do (nearly) any sport, and get cash payouts of up to $50,000 for accidental injuries that happen while you’re covered. Make sure you check the PDS to ensure Flip’s right for you.
A note on sporting injuries and Flip insurance
Sports injuries are often categorised as either acute or chronic injuries.
- Acute injuries happen suddenly like if you fall awkwardly, get knocked over or twist a joint. These are also called accidental injuries.
- Chronic injuries happen over time, usually from overusing one body part. Injuries like shin splints and tennis elbow are chronic injuries.
Flip covers injuries caused by accidents, so acute injuries only. If your injury is chronic, it’s not covered by Flip.
A snapshot of Australian injuries in Financial Year 2020
enough to require a
(up by 18%)
fracture, followed by soft
otherwise stated refer to
Financial Year 2019-2020