Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Sports Injuries and Motor Vehicle Accidents Dominate Medical Expenses for Injuries

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: September 6, 2005

Injuries resulting from participating in sports accounted for roughly a fifth of the roughly $73 billion spent in the United States in 2002 for medical treatment of accidental or intentional injuries, according to a nationwide survey by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that approximately 5.1 million persons received medical care for sports injuries which occurred the year of the survey or earlier.
    • These statistics are for persons who had expenses for injury-related medical care.
    • They do not include people in nursing homes, the armed forces, or other institutions.
    • These findings exclude dental care and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Motor vehicle accidents accounted for a larger share of injury-related medical expenses—37 percent or roughly $27 billion. Approximately 7 million Americans received medical care for motor vehicle accident injuries in 2002.
  • An estimated 12 million Americans were treated for falls. This accounted for roughly 7 percent of total medical spending on injuries, or about $5 billion.
  • The approximately one-third of injury-related medical expenses remaining included care for weapon injuries, poisonings, burns, and boating and other water-related accidents. About 17 million individuals were treated for these types of injuries.
  • MEPS also found that Workers' Compensation programs paid about one-tenth of all the money spent in 2002 to treat new or old injuries—approximately $7 billion.
  • Injury-related medical care accounted for roughly 57 percent of all payments made by Worker's Compensation programs in 2002.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based largely on information in Statistical Brief No. 93: Health Expenditures for Injury-Related Conditions, 2002, available on MEPS Web site at [PDF Help].


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care