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South Africa's Sharks get smart with ACC's help

Media Release

27 March, 2003

South Africa's Sharks get smart with ACC's help

The Natal Rugby Union has followed in ACC's footsteps with the launch of a sports injury programme based on the ACC SportSmart and RugbySmart initiatives.

The Natal Union sought ACC's advice during the 2002 Super 12 after a horror run of rugby injuries that included a fatality and three in hospital with spinal injuries

"SharkSmart is a rugby injury programme based on New Zealand ACC's SportSmart programme. It is a comprehensive approach to injury prevention aimed at school, club and representative players in KwaZulu Natal," the SharkSmart website says.

The programme has been dubbed SharkSmart after the province's Super 12 star team.

ACC Programme Manager, Injury Prevention Simon Gianotti said the ACC SportSmart and RugbySmart programmes have been very effective in reducing rugby injuries in New Zealand.

"There were only 3197 rugby claims last year, down from 3507 five years ago. During that time rugby participation has remained relatively static," Mr Gianotti said.

South Africa Rugby and the Samoan Rugby Union have also asked for ACC's help in developing their own versions of SportSmart.

And Rugby officials from Singapore and Fiji have also expressed interest in ACC's Sideline Management of Strains and Sprains initiative launched last month.

SMOSS advocates early applications of ice, compression bandages and elevating the injury, along with avoiding heat, alcohol, running and massage for 72 hours after an injury, as most effective in minimising the impacts of strains and sprains.


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