In 2001, the New Zealand Rugby Union and ACC developed the RugbySmart programme. The programme is all about lifting team performance by ensuring players are physically and technically at their peak before they put their bodies on the line.
All rugby referees and coaches of grades over Under 13 level must attend a RugbySmart Injury Prevention presentation facilitated by their local Provincial Rugby Union at the beginning of every rugby season. Coaches of players aged 12 and under are required to attend a Small Blacks Coaching Course, which includes RugbySmart.
Every year since RugbySmart started in 2001 we’ve seen significant drops in rugby-related injury claims. Rugby playing numbers have grown 7% in 2005 and yet claims have dropped by a further 3.5%.
The news gets better when we look at key injury areas:
- Neck/spine and back decreased by 13%
- Knee, ankles and lower legs decreased by 4.3%
- Shoulders decreased by 6.6%
- Dental claims decreased by 6.6%
RugbySmart is based around ACC SportSmart, the 10-point action plan for sports injury prevention. It’s a comprehensive approach that is about keeping players where coaches and supporters want them: on the field, contributing to a winning team effort.
The 10-point plan is:
- 10 Player Profiling
- Warm-Up, Cool-Down and Stretch
- Physical Conditioning
- Fair Play
- Protective Equipment
- Hydration and Nutrition
- Injury Reporting
- Injury Management
More information on the RugbySmart programme can be found on the RugbySmart website.