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National Survey on Sports Injuries in the Netherlands: Target Populations for Sports Injury Prevention Programs

Schmikli, Sandor L MSc*; Backx, Frank J G MD, PhD*; Kemler, Helena J MSc; Mechelen, Willem van MD, PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2009 - Volume 19 - Issue 2 - p 101-106
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31819b9ca3
Original Research

Objective: To define target populations for sports injury prevention programs.

Design: A computer-assisted telephone survey on sports injuries and sports participation during 2000-2005 using a 3-month recall period.

Setting: Data obtained from a representative sample of Dutch citizens.

Participants: Fifty-eight thousand four hundred five Dutch citizens aged older than 3 years.

Assessment of Risk Factors: Age, gender, and type of sports were used to distinguish subgroups with a substantial contribution to sports injuries.

Main Outcome Measures: The absolute number of sports injuries, the incidence of sports injuries per 10 000 hours, the severity, and costs of sports injuries.

Results: Sports participation was associated with 1.5 million injuries per year and 10 injuries per 10 000 hours; of these, 50% had to be treated medically. Two-thirds of all medically treated sports injuries were associated with 9 sports (representing 18 subpopulations, all younger than 55 years): outdoor soccer (males 4-54 years and females 4-17 years), indoor soccer (males 18-34 years), tennis (males/females 35-54 years), volleyball (females 18-54 years), field hockey (males 18-34 years and females 4-17 years), running/jogging (males/females 35-54 years), gymnastics (males/females 4-17 years), skiing/snowboarding (males 4-17 years and females 18-34 years), and equestrian sports (females 18-34 years). These groups showed more than average injury rates and covered two-thirds of all direct and indirect costs (€400 million).

Conclusions: The survey identified the most important (sports-, age-, and gender-specific) target populations for injury prevention programs in the Netherlands. Sports participants aged older than 55 years were excluded from these target groups because of their limited contribution to the total sports injury problem.

From the *Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, GA Utrecht, the Netherlands; †Consumer Safety Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and ‡Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Submitted for publication June 2, 2008; accepted January 8, 2009.

Injuries and Physical Activity Netherlands (IPAN) is funded by the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports, The Hague, the Netherlands.

Reprints: Sandor L. Schmikli, MSc, Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.