How pickleball is impacting the health care system
A spike in injuries from pickleball's surge in popularity is driving up medical costs, possibly to the tune of a half billion dollars, according to a new report.
Zoom in: Pickleball injuries are creating $250 million to $500 million in medical costs annually, UBS analyst Andrew Mok estimated after assessing data from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and studies about the sport.
The impact: The pickleball-induced sprains, strains and fractures to wrists and legs are contributing to the spike in treatments that sent shares of health insurers plunging earlier this month.
- 80% of the costs are for outpatient treatment, while Medicare is picking up 85% of the tab, with more than 8 in 10 Pickleball patients over 60 years old, the UBS analyst estimates.
By the numbers: Roughly 22.3 million people are expected to play pickleball this year, up from 8.9 million in 2022 and 3.5 million in 2019, according to UBS.
- 73% are white, and 45% have an income of more than $100,000.
💭 Nathan's thought bubble: Don't forget to stretch, folks.