- Estimated 3.6m UK adults injured during grassroots sports in the last 12 months – equivalent to roughly 10,000 per day.
- UK population shows overwhelming support for rule changes to reduce incidence of sport-related concussion – 67% in rugby and 61% in football.
- 4 in 5 parents want schools and sports clubs to keep official record of sports injuries, while current guidance states it isn’t required if part of the “rough and tumble” of the game.
- Podium Analytics calls for mandatory reporting of injuries into a national sports injury database to better protect players at all levels.
Podium Analytics (Podium), the UK’s leading charity for reducing injury in sport, is calling for injury reporting, where a player is removed from the field of play, to be made mandatory, in a bid to better protect participants in youth and grassroots sport, particularly in respect of sport-related concussion.
The move comes as the charity, that promotes the significant physical and mental health benefits of sport and physical activity, releases findings from a recent YouGov survey which reveal an estimated 3.6 million adults were injured through participating in grassroots sport in the past 12 months (7% of the UK adult population), equivalent to roughly 10,000 people a day. Whilst 7% of UK adults have suffered an injury during grassroots sports in the past 12 months, 12% of UK adults suffered injuries more than 12 months ago.
The survey revealed significant support for rule changes that aim to reduce the incidence of sports injuries (54%). When it comes to head injuries specifically, support for rule changes rises to 67% to reduce the incidence of concussion in rugby (vs 9% who oppose), 61% support in football (vs 12% who oppose) and is at a similar level of 53% support in field hockey (vs 8% who oppose).
This comes as the research also reveals that a large majority of parents (78%) believe it should be compulsory for schools and sports clubs to keep a record of all sports injuries that happen during lessons, training and matches. Current RIDDOR guidance from the Health and Safety Executive for UK schools was last updated 10 years ago. The guidance states that if an accident results in an injury due to the “rough and tumble” of the game, there is no need for the accident to be reported, however parents want to see this changed.
Mandatory injury reporting would allow for the creation of a National Sports Injury Database to effectively record and monitor the incidence of injury which will play a critical role in reducing the incidence and impact of injuries, such as the long-term impact of concussion.
Andy Hunt, CEO of Podium Analytics, said: “Injury, particularly head injury, is a real issue in sport. Too often the public conversation on concussion is only around the elite level of the game and there needs to be more focus and protection for all.
There are basic things that should be introduced that could make a material difference to everyone who plays sport across the UK. Reporting of injury, particularly head injuries, into a national database will enable us to track trends, enable greater research, more consistently manage return to play protocols, and to make real changes to the world of sport – that means more sport and less injury!”
Former professional tennis player and Podium Analytics Ambassador, Tim Henman said: “As a former professional athlete, I know the devastating impact an injury can have – but for me, I had a team of professionals helping me get back to fitness after an injury. Now as a parent, I see the world of sport and injury through a completely different lens. What is known at elite level isn’t known at grassroots, but simple changes such as better reporting of injuries could play a big role in helping young people recover from injuries and get back to playing sport.”
England and Great Britain Hockey Player and Podium Analytics Ambassador, Sam Ward, said: “I very nearly suffered a career-ending injury when my eye socket was smashed during a hockey game. But it didn’t stop my love of the sport, and getting back to playing was crucial for me. That desire to get back to sport isn’t one only felt at the elite level – there are people missing out on getting back to the sport they love because they don’t have access to the same infrastructure or information that I do in the professional world. Podium is plugging that gap.”
Podium offers schools and sports clubs free access to its digital ecosystem SportSmart, which provides tracking and analytics tools, educational information and insights to prevent, monitor and manage injury. Included in the ecosystem is a head injury management tool which helps teachers and coaches monitor a concussion injury and manage a safe return to play following the latest guidance.