Unfit for work: sporting injuries sideline Aussie workers
- Time off for sports injuries a growing problem
- Up to $2 billion is the estimated total burden each year of sports injuries in Australia
- Exercise caution: active Aussies warned to be safe and take out income protection
March 27, 2014, Sydney – Before you go for the game-winning try this weekend, consider whether you can afford to get injured. Time off work for sports injuries is a growing problem in Australia, according to one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites lifeinsurancefinder.com.au.
Every year around one million Australians are injured playing sport or undertaking recreational activities, according to the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (December, 2013).
The Sports Injury Prevention Taskforce stated in its 2013 report that 545,000 Australians reported to have a long-term health condition caused by a sport or exercise related injury.
However, more sporty Australians are looking for protection. lifeinsurancefinder.com.au saw a spike in visitors searching for protection against sport-related injuries this month, with almost double the traffic on the site compared to March last year, coinciding with the start of the new football season.
Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at lifeinsurancefinder.com.au, said sports injury is emerging as a major workplace issue.
“Sports injury is causing greater concern than just spending time on the sidelines. Being inactive is making it impossible for many people to carry out their jobs.
“The knock-on effect of this is less productivity and individuals having to cough up thousands of dollars to cover costs such as loss of income and medical bills,” said Mrs Hutchison.
Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit shows sports injuries account for more than twice the number of hospital treated injuries than road traffic accidents.
Football injuries (including soccer) account for two-thirds of all adult sport injury hospitalisations, according to VISU.
Of 16 sports investigated, the highest frequency of hospitalisations was for Australian football (50%), soccer (13%), basketball (11%) and cricket (7%).
Mrs Hutchison said employees are being forced to take time out of work to recover from an injury.
“As participation increases, so too do the likelihood of injuries and they are not going to be covered by workcover because it has occurred outside of the office.
“The emergence of extreme and endurance events like Tough Mudder and triathlons where participation is at your own risk, is adding to the problem. Weekend warriors are turning up to these events and some are getting badly banged up.”
Up to $2 billion is the estimated total burden each year of sports injuries in Australia according to Sports Medicine Australia.
She said the issue was largely being ignored with the population drastically underinsured for income protection.
"Whether you're out playing a game of beach cricket or playing in the clash of the season, you don't want to have to hold back because you aren't covered in case of injury," she said.
“Do your research: income protection pays a monthly benefit worth up to 75 percent of your monthly gross income when you become disabled because of an illness or injury. Some income protection policies also have add-ons which pay you extra for medical and rehabilitation expenses.”
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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.
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