July 31, 2014

Sun Life Financial Finds Maine Sports Injuries Cause Over 4,500 Emergency Room Visits Annually - Nearly Half by Youth

Study Explores Injury Risk and Medical Cost of Popular Team Sports

WELLESLEY, MA (July 31, 2014) – The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) projects that Maine athletes will make over 4,674 emergency room visits this year due to sports injuries,[1] nearly half experienced by athletes age 22 and younger.[2]

By correlating sports injury rates to participation levels of amateur athletes, Sun Life projected the total number of emergency room visits caused by each of six popular Maine team sports: baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball.  The study also analyzed per person emergency room medical costs on a national basis for thirteen popular sports.

Sun Life conducted the study to educate workers and their employers about the risk and cost of sports injuries amidst the rising popularity of high deductible health insurance plans. Twenty percent of U.S. workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance have a high deductible plan with a savings option, a five-fold increase in seven years.[3]

Key findings:

  • Softball is projected to send the most Mainers (2,000 out of 120,000 participants)[4] to the emergency room this year, at an average per player medical cost of $4,154.[5]
  • Basketball is projected to send the second highest number of Mainers (1,600 out of 42,000 basketball participants)[6] to the emergency room, at an average per player medical cost of $3,764.[7]
  • Baseball is projected to send the third highest number of Mainers (450 out of 20,000 participants)[8] to the emergency room this year, at an average per player cost of $4,368.[9]
  • A household has a fifty percent chance of experiencing an emergency room injury within five years if just a single family member plays football, ice hockey and soccereach year.[10]
  • A household has a fifty percent chance of experiencing an emergency room injury within three years if family members play a total of seven team sports each year.[11]
  • Two popular Maine winter sports trigger the costliest average ER visits of thirteen popular team sports and recreational activities: downhill skiing ($6,962), followed by ice hockey ($4,562).[12]

“A lot of Mainers end up in the emergency room each year due to sports injuries,” said Derek Warner, Sun Life’s New England Group Market Manager. “Medical treatment can easily run into the thousands of dollars, meaning a family with high deductible health insurance could be out $4,000[13] or more in aggregate deductibles before their insurance kicks in, and single high deductible coverage averages approximately $2,000.[14]

Sun Life offers two Group Voluntary Accident Insurance plans, including a Preferred Plan, which offers a robust benefits schedule geared to employees with active lifestyles and families with athletes who play sports with higher rates of injury, and an Essential Plan, which offers a straightforward plan design and streamlined benefits schedule geared to younger workers and employees with low savings.

“As more workers adopt high deductible health insurance, we want people to understand how to protect themselves and their families against the financial risks of an injury, whether due to recreation or a random accident,” said Tyler Thims, Sun Life’s New England Voluntary Benefits Practice leader.

For more information, see Sun Life Financial’s New England Sports Injury Highlights.

About Sun Life Accident Insurance
Accident insurance is a limited benefit coverage. It provides accident coverage only. It does not provide basic hospital, basic medical, or major medical insurance. The certificate has limitations and exclusions that may affect any benefits payable. Benefits payable are subject to all terms and obligations of the certificate. Sun Life's Accident Insurance product is not available in all states. Benefits sales professionals should call their Sun Life group representative for more information.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including Group and Voluntary Life, Disability, Dental, and Stop-Loss insurance products. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, please visit


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[1] State Emergency Room (ER) Visit Projections

Sun Life Financial. Injury levels were derived from correlating sports participation levels to injury rates. Sources: (a) Sports participation: National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) report, “Sports Participation, State-by-State, Year-2012” (ages 7 and older), except for hockey, from: United States of Hockey, year 2012–13: (; (b) Injury Rates: Safe Kids Worldwide, analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), ages 12–17 2011 injury rates, based on emergency room visits per 100 athletes. The total number of estimated Maine emergency room injuries for six team sports in 2012 is 4,674. Football was not counted due to insufficient data. The total projected 2014 Maine sports injury figure represents a conservative approximation, since it omits: (a) injuries from many activities, including lacrosse, wrestling, skiing, skateboarding, and cheerleading, and (b) the small number of injuries that sent athletes directly to hospitals or to urgent care centers without going through an emergency room. These factors help counterbalance potential 2012 to 2014 declines in sports participation.

[2] State ER Visits for Athletes Under Age-22

National Sporting Goods Association. Estimate that 50% of the projected emergency room sports injuries are experienced by youth age 22 and under compared to all athletes age 7 and older was estimated based on the proportion of participation by youth under age 18 versus under age 25: On a weighted average basis, the proportion of participants under age 18 in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball comprised 42% of all participation in 2012, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The proportion of participants under age 25 comprised 57% of all participation.

[4] State Emergency Room (ER) Visit Projections

See footnote 1.

[5] Paid Medical Costs

Sun Life Financial. For athletes ages 65 and younger. Represents total medical charges paid by medical insurance, the athlete, or by the athlete’s parent or guardian. Based on Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data on: (a) ages 65 and younger emergency department and hospital admissions (2012), (b) 2008 medical costs, adjusted to 2012 based on medical cost inflation data from Economic Report of the President, 2013. Note: Health insurance may cover some or all accident medical costs, though in many cases, the insured must first pay a deductible.

[6]State Emergency Room (ER) Visit Projections

See footnote 1.

[7]Paid Medical Costs

See footnote 5.

[8]State Emergency Room (ER) Visit Projections

See footnote 1.

[9]Paid Medical Costs

See footnote 5.

[10]Injury Risk: Playing Multiple Sports

Sun Life Financial. Each injury rate per year was extrapolated over multiple years and multiple sports, assuming each year and sport was independent of all others. For example, it was not assumed that either (a) having an injury in a sport, or (b) not having an injury over a period of time created a greater (or lesser) chance of future injury. Projections estimate the risk of at least one injury occurring and do not assess the risk of experiencing more than one injury.

[11] The seven team sports are: football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey and soccer. For more information, see footnote 10.

[12]Paid Medical Costs

See footnote 5.

[13]High Deductible Health Insurance Costs

Employer-sponsored health insurance with a deductible averages $1,135 for single coverage, with aggregate deductibles for family coverage averaging approximately $2,000. Deductibles for high deductible employer health insurance, average approximately $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families with aggregate deductibles.

[14] See footnote 13.