Financial burden of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions in football (soccer) players: An Australian cost of injury study

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Injury Prevention


Objectives: To estimate the financial burden of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions in amateur football (soccer) players in Australia over a single year, including both direct and indirect cost. Methods: Available national direct and indirect cost data were applied to the annual incidence of ACL reconstructions in Australia. Age-adjusted and sex-adjusted total and mean costs (ACL and osteoarthritis (OA)) were calculated for amateur football (soccer) players in Australia using an incidence-based approach. Results: The estimated cost of ACL reconstructions for amateur football players is $A69 623 211 with a mean total cost of $A34 079. The mean indirect costs are 19.8% higher than the mean direct costs. The mean indirect costs are lower in female (11.5%, $A28 628) and junior (15.3%, $A29 077) football players. The mean ACL costs are 3-4-fold greater than the mean OA costs ($A27 099 vs $A6450, respectively), remaining consistent when stratified by sex and age group. Our model suggests that for every 10% increase in adherence to injury prevention programmes, which equates to approximately 102 less ACL injuries per year, $A9 460 224 in ACL costs could be saved. Conclusion: While the number of ACL reconstructions per year among football players in Australia is relatively small, the annual financial burden is high. Our study suggests that if injury prevention exercises programmes are prioritised by stakeholders in football, significant cost-savings are possible.

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