Two out of three injuries among adolescents (66%) and almost half (47%) of adult injuries are linked to sports. How much do sport-related injuries cost Canadian taxpayers annually?

According to Stats Canada, the economic burden from both unintentional and intentional injuries amounted to $19.8 billion in 2004. This includes direct and indirect costs arising from hospitalization, disability and even death. Given inflation since 2004 and the rise of the population, it’s a conservative bet to say over $10 billion annually is spent on sport-related injuries. Close to 15 million people in Canada work full time which means that around $667 per person is spent on sport-related injuries.

Now maybe I am too optimistic, but $667 sounds inexpensive, considering most people wouldn’t be able to afford private medical care if a serious injury occurred. Let’s also consider how a university course, new cell phone or laptop can have a similar cost or even exceed the “value” of what it takes to keep Canadians from medical debt. I’m not one to advocate for socialism across the board, but the public healthcare system provides a serious favour for athletes and sport enthusiasts, so it’s worth mentioning.

Imagine hurting yourself on the ski mountain this winter and having to pay for an X-Ray or MRI, along with other services. A private MRI in Vancouver costs around $700 so you can see how it wouldn’t take long to rack up thousands of dollars in hospital expenses if the public health care system didn’t exist. The public system comes with its own pros and cons — arguably, two-tier medical systems at times can be unethical as not everyone has equal access to resources. As for now, the medical care system does benefit Canadians despite some critiques and complaints. It has proven itself to be most effective for people with sports injuries.