An Economical Analysis of Ankle Sprains in BVU Athletics: A New Approach to Determine Intervention Effectiveness

by Megan Anderson
Athletic Training
Faculty advisor: James Day

It is estimated that 300,000 ankle sprains occur each year and during the 2007- 2010 Buena Vista University athletic years 106 ankle sprains occurred. The ability to effectively treat ankle injuries depends on the definition of an effective treatment.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to present a new approval to measuring the effectiveness of ankle treatments for the Buena Vista University Athletic Training Department.

Methods: An analysis was performed for each ankle sprain occurring from 2007-2010 sports seasons documenting all applicable costs.

Results: The average cost of an ankle injury was approximately $475 overall and $6,000 for each injury requiring referral. When the indirect costs of the time lost using previously published averages are included the costs rise significantly to a total cost over the 3 years to $16,500 or approximately $650 per ankle sprain. This represents a significant cost of the Athletic Department and a new way of judging intervention for prevention and management.

Conclusion: With an overall cost of $16,500 spent on management of ankle sprains for an about 950 athletic seasons, we get a cost ratio of about $17.36 spent per athlete per season. This number allows us to compare costs of interventions directly.

Future Research: In the future it would possible to look at possible proven interventions for the prevention of ankle sprains from the standpoint of cost. If for example, an intervention cuts the number of injuries in half and costs less than about $9 per athlete it would break even.