Injury Smart

ACC brings safety message to the rugby sevens

On the rugby field the best technique also happens to be the safest technique – so playing safe doesn’t mean you’ll be a less effective player.

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That’s one of the key messages that ACC took to the Bayleys National Sevens tournament in Rotorua in January, and it was an important one for players to keep in mind when the international sevens took over Wellington in February.

ACC was a supporting sponsor of this year’s national sevens tournament, held at the Rotorua International Stadium.

“We’re a strong sporting nation and that’s great, because sports deliver so many benefits, such as improved fitness and wellbeing,” says ACC’s Programme Manager – Sport, Isaac Carlson.

“But the popularity of sports in New Zealand is also reflected in injury statistics, with almost 400,000 sports- and recreation-related ACC claims received annually.

“We’re certainly not telling Kiwis to ease up on their sports. Our message is to keep playing, but make sure you follow some basic injury prevention guidelines. That way, you’ll be able to get the most out of your sport, and not experience the time out and disruption to your life that can result from an injury.”

ACC operated a hydration station at the national competition, offering free water and injury prevention tips to attendees.

Given that the national sevens is a rugby event, ACC also focused on promoting the RugbySmart injury prevention initiative, developed in collaboration with New Zealand Rugby.

RugbySmart is all about educating coaches and players on the correct preparation for the physical demands of rugby, and the correct techniques, especially in contact areas such as tackles, scrums, rucks and mauls.

As well as this, RugbySmart encourages the use of safety gear such as mouthguards, and covers what to do if you do get injured, to ensure that you’re back on your feet as quickly and as safely as possible.

Linking effective play to safe play may seem odd in a contact sport such as rugby but, Mr Carlson says, “You can’t be a good player without good technique, and all good players know that correct technique is also safe technique”.

The success of RugbySmart has been well documented. Since its introduction in 2001, serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries have fallen from more than 10 a year to fewer than three a year.

New Zealand Rugby has made it compulsory for all coaches – even the All Blacks’ coach – and referees to attend RugbySmart workshops. The programme’s success has also seen versions of it introduced in many overseas countries.

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February 2014 Newsletter

Published 25/02/2014

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