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NZRL's Focus On Injury Prevention Helps Reduce ACC Claims

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZRL's Focus On Injury Prevention Helps Reduce ACC Claims

The New Zealand Rugby League's injury prevention programmes have led to a significant reduction in the number of ACC claims and costs in the past year.

The NZRL's community programmes manager Dain Guttenbeil said the initiatives had resulted in a 17 per cent reduction in new ACC claims while new claims costs were down by nine per cent.

"These figures represent a significant saving for the ACC and show we are having success in working closely with the ACC to reduce rugby league-related injuries," he said.

Guttenbeil said the NZRL was one of the first national sports bodies to implement specific injury prevention initiatives in partnership with the ACC in 1996.

"This resulted in introducing mandatory use of mouth guards and the outlawing of dangerous tackles seen in the professional game, such as shoulder charges and grass cutter tackles," he said.

"The implementation of the initiatives stalled for a time and rates of injury began to rise dramatically. However, a refocus on this area since last year has led to improved results over the past year."

Guttenbeil said an emphasis on player welfare through the development of the LeagueSmart and First Aid Officer programmes had delivered benefits. The NZRL had also reformed the NZRL Medical Advisory Group, which provides advice on player welfare issues.

"We're very fortunate to have some of the country's leading medical and scientific minds involved. With the Medical Advisory Group in place we're confident we will continue to lead in the field of player welfare."

The NZRL has implemented the LeagueSmart programme across its districts. The programme seeks to empower the rugby league community with knowledge and skills to better prepare players and reduce the likelihood of injuries.

A partnership had also been formed with Netball New Zealand to educate first aid officers to provide primary care services on fields and courts around the country.

"We can no longer rely solely on the likes of St John to provide first aid for our players," said Guttenbeil.

"Educating our volunteers to provide primary care for injuries is essential for the growth of the game.

"We are demonstrating here that community rugby league is a safe option not only for men and women, but most of all for children. With the measures we have in place, it is one of the safest sports they can play."

Guttenbeil said the progress achieved in the injury prevention area over the past year or two was but an indication of the NZRL's commitment to implementing its duty of care to all who play rugby league in New Zealand

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