BACKGROUND: Physical activity plays an important role in public health, owing to a range of health-related benefits that it provides. Sports-related injuries are known to be an important barrier to continued physical activity. Still, the prevalence of injuries on a general population level has not yet been explored in a descriptive epidemiological investigation. The purpose of the questionnaire-based study, therefore, was to describe the prevalence of injury in a representative sample of the Danish population.
METHODS: Two samples of 10,000 adults (> 15 years) and 6500 children and adolescents (7-15 years) were invited to respond to a web-based questionnaire. Of these, 3498 adults (35.0%) and 3221 children (49.6%) responded successfully. The definition of sports injury was time-loss and medical attention-based, inhibiting participants from sports activity for at least 7 days, and/or involved contact with a healthcare professional, respectively.
RESULTS: Amongst adults, 642 (18.4% [95%CI: 17.1%; 19.6%]) reported to have had an injury within the past 12 months. Males reported significantly more injuries than females (difference in prevalence proportion: 9.2%-points [95%CI: 6.7%-points; 11.8%-points]). The prevalence of injuries was greatest in running (ninj = 198), football (ninj = 94) and strength training (ninj = 89). Amongst children, 621 (19.3% [95%CI: 17.9%; 20.6%]) had been injured. No difference in injury prevalence proportion existed between boys and girls. The prevalence of injuries was greatest in football (ninj = 235), handball (ninj = 86) and gymnastics (ninj = 66).
CONCLUSIONS: Sports injuries seem to be very frequent in Denmark, since a total of 18.4% of the adults and 19.3% of the children reported having had one or more injuries within the past 12 months, equal to either time lost with physical activity and/or contact to the health care system.