JLT Sports injury index

17 August 2016

When a sportsperson gets injured, the cost to their club can be huge. We’ve created our first Sports Injury Index, to help clubs understand the financial effect of injury – and protect themselves against it.

Over the last five seasons in the English Premier League, the average number of injuries per team has increased from 25 to 35. As you’d expect, the estimated cost of these injuries has increased too, from £113.8 million to £157.4 million. That’s an increase of over £43 million. Since the start of the 2011/12 season, clubs have spent £669 million on wages for injured players who couldn’t play.

Last season, as well as the usual 380 Premier League games, there were 153 cup games – both domestic and European – where at least one Premier League team was playing. In those 533 games, there were 705 injuries to Premier League players. Those players were injured for a total of 20,711 days, which adds up to a staggering 56 years.

Seeing spikes, spotting trends

The increase in injuries hasn’t been consistent year-on-year. There was a big jump between the 2011/12 and 2012/ 13 seasons, and another between the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons. But in between, the numbers were fairly stable. 

The jump in the 2012/13 season came after the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine. In that tournament, over 60 Premier League players represented their countries. So perhaps we should expect more injuries in the aftermath of international tournaments? 

Or perhaps not. Over 100 English Premier League players represented their countries at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil – yet the average number of injuries per team was the same in the season following that tournament as it was in the one preceding it. 

Now that 106 Premier League players have taken part in the 2016 European Championship in France, could we see another spike in the number of injuries next season? This is the kind of data we explore using our modelling tools.

Predicting injury, protecting clubs

As a specialist broker working in the sporting world, it’s our job to help clients see what the future might hold. So we’ve created some modelling tools to explore what the 2016/17 Premier League season might look like. We can use these tools to highlight the risks individual clubs could face, and help them protect themselves in the right way.

For instance, some clubs might want to look at Wageroll Protection: a type of insurance that allows them to cover either their players’ total wageroll or a proportion of a player’s annual wage. It’s worth noting that, over the last five seasons, Premier League clubs spent more than £200 million on players who were injured for more than 90 days at a time – and we believe that almost three quarters of this cost could have been covered by a Wageroll Protection policy.

Although we’ve focused on the English Premier League, we can adapt our modelling tools to create insight for any sport. With top athletes commanding unprecedented financial recognition across the sporting world, this kind of insight could be invaluable.

Download JLT Sports Injury Index

For more information, contact Duncan Fraser, Head of Sport, Media & Entertainment on +44 20 7528 4885 or email duncan_fraser@jltgroup.com