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Sport accidents need more attention

Skiing is one of the most dangerous sports according to the statistics

(Keystone)

More should be done to prevent around 300,000 sports accidents a year in Switzerland, says the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention.

The call comes as the country prepares for the winter sport season. According to the council, activities such as skiing and snowboarding account for the most sporting injuries.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the council said that there were around 300,000 serious sports injuries and around 135 deaths a year in Switzerland. The numbers are rising, it said.

"Sport accidents represent an economic and social cost of SFr2 billion ($1.68 billion) a year," said the council.

It added that as the number of sports, particularly dangerous ones, was rising, it feared that the accident rate and the severity of injuries could increase in the future.

But the council warned that despite these "alarming figures" not enough prevention work was being done.

This is why it wants to work towards reducing sports deaths by 30 per cent and sports accidents by ten per cent by 2010, and has called on the authorities to take more action.

"It is high time that sports accident prevention was given as much importance as the promotion of sports," said the council's vice-director Jörg Thoma.

But it said that this would be difficult if politicians and the public continued to consider accidents to be a normal part of doing sports.

More action

The council is therefore demanding that accident prevention and research be given more weight in Swiss sports policy.

"And who knows; a reduction in the risk of accidents in sports could possibly inspire more people to take up sports," said Thoma.

The call comes as people start to think about winter sports – the most dangerous according to the council's statistics.

In terms of accidents between 2000 and 2004, an average of 93,500 people were injured per year while skiing, snowboarding, sledging and ice-skating. Skiing alone represented 44,300 accidents and snowboarding, 25,800.

Ball games were another culprit (91,300 people injured a year) with more than half of all accidents happening during football games. This was followed by gymnastics, jogging and athletics (25,000 people), water sports (15,600) and martial arts (5,100).

Fatal accidents were most likely to occur during mountain sports – an average of around 50 people died per year in 2000-2004 – followed by winter sports (30 people).

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Average per year:
Sports accidents: around 300,000
From winter sports: 93,500
Ball games: 91,300
Gymnastics, jogging, athletics: 25,000
Water sports: 15,600
Martial arts: 5,100

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