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Economics of injuries

2009 September 21
by Skip Sauer

Interesting piece at FT.com on economic analysis of injuries. Co-blogger Stefan argues that progress may be associated with information sharing, a practice made easier when a national sporting organization is powerful — e.g. rugby and cricket, rather than soccer. I found the following particularly interesting:

The process begins with information-gathering. For seven years, the R[ugby] FU has been logging every injury in the professional game in an effort to gather enough data to identify trends reliably. The ­England and Wales Cricket Board and the English Institute of Sport, which looks after Olympians, now have similar rolling audits, although they are at an earlier stage of development.

The numbers are already being crunched – and proving useful in planning which treatments might best serve not just the player, but the team. A recent study of hamstring injuries found that every new hamstring injury costs the team an average of 14 playing days; an average recurrence costs 25 days. Furthermore, almost all the recurrences took place during matches in the first month after return, and after an hour of play. It quickly became clear that players who had sustained hamstring injuries should be replaced after an hour during their first few games back. Moreover, the two clearest risk factors for hamstring injury were age and a previous injury, and players who performed specific strengthening exercises reduced the incidence, severity and ­recurrence of hamstring injuries.

My hunch is that the big EPL clubs know this, but keep their information private.

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