Motor sports Australia’s riskiest activity

Finbar O’Mallon
(Australian Associated Press)


Australians who take part in motor sports are more likely to end up in hospital than in any other sport.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data released on Wednesday shows men are more than twice as likely as women to be hospitalised playing sport.

The data shows the number of sports participants who had to stay in hospital as a result of their injury.

In 2016/17, motor sports, rugby and roller sports – like roller skating or skateboarding – had the highest rate of injuries per 100,000 participants respectively.

Out the 241,000 participants in motor sports – including motorcycle or car racing – 3091 were injured.

Cycling had the highest number of injuries with 4919 injured in 2016/17.


Almost 15 million Australians aged 15 or over engaged in sport or a recreational activity at least once a week in 2016/17, with nearly 60,000 of them injured.

“It’s clear that we are a nation of sport-lovers,” institute spokesman Professor James Harrison said.

“However playing sport does not come without risk.”

Rugby was the country’s riskiest football code per 100,000 participants but Australian rules had the highest raw number of injuries.

Fractures were the most common type of injury when factoring all sports, with the hips and lower limbs the most likely body parts to be injured.

While men were more likely to be injured playing rugby or Aussie rules, touch football and soccer were more dangerous for women.

One in three sports injuries are a result of a fall, which can include a fall as a result of contact with another player.

Cycling was the most common cause of injuries that resulted in a hospital stay for men, while for women it was equestrian sports.

Soccer caused the most injuries for Australians aged under-15, rugby and Australians rules for 15 to 24 year olds, then soccer again for 25 to 44 year olds.

One in 10 sports injuries were life threatening, with swimming and diving, cycling, equestrian sports, motor sports and recreational walking the most likely to see life-threatening injuries.

Two-thirds of recreational walkers are aged 45 and over, with more than half of walkers hospitalised in 2016/17 being aged 65 or over.

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