Does prevention pay off? Economic aspects of sports injury prevention: a systematic review

Christoph Lutter*, Christophe Jacquet, Evert Verhagen, Romain Seil, Thomas Tischer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To identify, summarise and critically assess economic evaluation studies on sports injury prevention strategies. DESIGN: Systematic review. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, SportDiscuss. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: The current literature was searched following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Economic analyses published since 2010 were checked for inclusion. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the Oxford Level of Evidence for economic and decision analysis; underlying randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were rated according to the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) Scale, and risk of bias was assessed using the Revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool. RESULTS: Ten studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The quality assessment revealed limited data quality. For trial-based analysis, underlying RCTs were of good quality and had a low risk of bias. Prevention concepts for general injury reduction showed effectiveness and cost savings. Regarding specific injury types, the analysis of the studies showed that the best data are available for ankle, hamstring and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Measures using specific training interventions were the predominant form of prevention concepts; studies investigating these concepts showed cost-effectiveness with total cost savings between €24.82 and €462 per athlete. CONCLUSION: Injury prevention strategies that were studied are cost-effective. However, estimates and outcomes vary throughout the included studies, and precluded pooling of existing data. Knowledge about the cost-effectiveness of evaluated prevention measures will help improve the acceptance and application of prevention initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date1 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • economics
  • football
  • injury prevention
  • olympics


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