ACC investing more to reduce injuries

ACC is increasing its investment to address the high rate of serious netball injuries.

It will pour another $3.6 million into its NetballSmart programme over the next three years.

That is in response to the $30 million spent on injury claims from the sport last year.

More than 25,000 ACC claims for the year, notably for knee and ankle injuries, continues to leave it as the biggest contributor to female sport-related injuries in New Zealand.

However, the NetballSmart programme has made an impact and the last three-year investment period prevented 4615 claims.

Notably it has reduced and stablised anterior cruciate ligament injury rates.

"In recent years ACL injuries have become more prevalent in 10-19-year-old females, where previously this injury was seen as a professional sports injury," ACC injury prevention leader Kirsten Malpas said.

"Since 2014 there has also been a steady decline in the rate of all netball injuries, reflecting the overall impact of the NetballSmart programme."

Maori make up a quarter of all traditional netball participation and the next three years of NetballSmart will look to further engage Maori players.

Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said the importance of the NetballSmart injury prevention programme was hard to overstate.

"It was quite alarming a few years ago to see the high rate of serious knee and ankle injuries. It’s been really pleasing to see the impact the NetballSmart programme is having in tackling this problem to help protect our players from serious injury," she said.

"We know we have more work to do and over the next three years of this partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work with secondary schools and also Maori netballers to ensure all of our players can keep playing the game they love, without the burden of season ending injuries."

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