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Sport Is Healthy – And It’s Getting Safer Too

18 January 2013

ACC media release

Sport Is Healthy – And It’s Getting Safer Too

As Kiwis we’re a nation of sport lovers, and the good news is it’s now safer to play our most popular sports, with ACC claims for more serious injuries from rugby union, rugby league, netball and football all falling significantly last year (2011/12).

That’s music to the ears of ACC’s Programme Manager for Sport, Joe Harawira.

Under its injury prevention banner, ACC runs programmes aimed at reducing the incidence and severity of injury during sport and recreational activities, with priority given to activities that have high participation rates and significant claims costs.

“We set a target of a 2% reduction in entitlement claims from the priority sports of rugby union, league, netball and football,” says Joe, explaining that “entitlement claims generally involve more serious injuries which require help beyond initial medical treatment. This can include social and vocational support to assist people throughout their recovery”.

The 2% target was well and truly exceeded, with a 5% reduction in new entitlement claims in 2011/12.

“What makes this result even more pleasing is that there were unprecedented increases in player registrations in each of these priority sports last year,” says Joe.

Sport NZ’s General Manager of Community Sport and Recreation, Geoff Barry, says the fall in injuries is encouraging.

“We welcome initiatives that can make sports safer so players are on the field longer, enjoying their sport to the fullest extent possible.”

Joe Harawira says national sport organisations (NSOs) such as the NZ Rugby Union, NZ Football, Netball NZ and NZ Rugby League provide a crucial way for ACC to get its injury prevention messages across to players.

“These organisations can influence the education of coaches and referees, who in turn influence players. Our aim is to ensure that sports injury prevention is embedded into the NSO’s national frameworks.”

As well as targeting participants in organised sports, ACC also aims to reach more casual exercisers such as joggers, cyclists and walkers through its ActiveSmart website, which can provide personally tailored training and injury prevention advice – visit www.activesmart.co.nz

Key statistics

• On average, ACC sport and recreation related claims cost $330 million per year, with entitlement claims accounting for around $250 million of this.

• Sport and recreation related injuries account for around one in four ACC claims lodged annually

• ACC entitlement claims account for around 80% of claims costs but 6% of claims volumes

• The priority sports rugby union, rugby league, netball and football are New Zealand’s most popular sports, with about 430,000 players

• The priority sports resulted in ACC claims costs of around $85 million in 2011/12

• ACC invested $575,000 in its priority sports injury prevention programmes last year, but this delivered an estimated return on investment of $2.28 for every $1.00 invested in terms of claims costs prevented


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