Disclosures: Parisien reports receiving grant support and education payments from Arthrex. Please see the study for all other authors' relevant financial disclosures.
October 29, 2021
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Injury prevention program may reduce health care costs among student-athletes

Disclosures: Parisien reports receiving grant support and education payments from Arthrex. Please see the study for all other authors' relevant financial disclosures.
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Use of a comprehensive injury surveillance and prevention program may significantly reduce injury-related health care costs in NCAA Division I athletics, according to published results.

Robert L. Parisien, MD, and colleagues divided 28 varsity sports teams from a single NCAA Division I university into groups based on whether they used the Sparta Science injury surveillance and prevention system (user group, n = 12) or not (nonuser group, n = 16). The injury surveillance system assessed kinematic variables, flagged high-risk athletes and guided individual conditioning programs using a commercially available force-plate system, according to researchers. Researchers collected data from 3 academic years before and 2 academic years after implementation of the Sparta Science system and compared the number of injuries and associated health care costs between the two groups.

Sports teams that used an injury prevention program had a 23% reduction in clinic visits, 13% reduction in associated health care encounters, 19% decrease in overall health care costs and 20% decrease in costs related to associated health care encounters. Data were derived from Parisien RL, et al. Orthop J Sports Med. 2021;doi:10.1177/23259671211029898.
Sports teams that used an injury prevention program had a 23% reduction in clinic visits, 13% reduction in associated health care encounters, 19% decrease in overall health care costs and 20% decrease in costs related to associated health care encounters. Data were derived from Parisien RL, et al. Orthop J Sports Med. 2021;doi:10.1177/23259671211029898.

Although the total average annual injuries did not change significantly between the user and nonuser groups after implementation of the injury surveillance and prevention program, researchers found the user group had a 23% reduction in clinic visits vs. a 14% increase in clinic visits for the nonuser group. Results also showed the user group had a 13% reduction in associated health care encounters compared with a 13% increase for the nonuser group. Researchers observed a significant change in overall health care costs, with the user group experiencing a 19% decrease in overall health care costs and the nonuser group experiencing an 8% increase in overall health care costs. The user group also had a 20% decrease in costs related to associated health care encounters while the nonuser group had a 39% increase, according to results.

Robert L. Parisien
Robert L. Parisien

“There remains much work to be done through multi-institutional collaboration and prospective evaluation of other forms of injury surveillance and prevention programs across athletes of all ages and skill levels,” Parisien told Healio Orthopedics. “Our study certainly adds significant objective data to the larger conversation of value-based care in orthopedic surgery and our hope is this investigation further informs and inspires continued study and implementation of sports injury surveillance programs across the country as a means to reduce injury-related health care costs.”