NZ's Accident Compensation Commission Spent $51M On Rugby Injuries In '12-13
New Zealand's Accident Compensation Commission forked out nearly NZ$64M ($51M) for rugby injuries in the past year -- with "almost 70,000 active claims for players at all levels," according to Morgan Tait of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Figures show that the ACC "received 59,124 new claims for injuries" in its '12-13 financial year and "handled 68,437 active claims overall." The cost reached NZ$63.94M, the "highest in at least five years." As treatment costs have increased, "several high-profile, on-field incidents have also highlighted the risks associated with the national game." Despite "the treatment numbers, both ACC and rugby officials say they are making 'good inroads' to reduce serious incidents -- including spinal injuries." New Zealand Rugby Union spokesperson Mike Jaspers said that RugbySmart, a joint campaign between ACC and the New Zealand Rugby Union, was introduced in '01 and "had reduced the number of serious spinal injuries from more than 10 a year to fewer than three." The RugbySmart initiative focused on "tackles and scrum, ruck and maul techniques, physical conditioning specific to the demands of rugby, encouraging the use of mouthguards and the appropriate treatment and management of injuries" (NZ HERALD, 8/20).