Rough rugby tops ACC's sports injury list

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2012

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Groin injuries like the one that knocked Dan Carter out of the Rugby World Cup are contributing to costly injury payouts.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show that ACC paid out $56 million for rugby-related claims in the past financial year, making it the costliest sport for injuries.

The Wellington region generated $5m worth of rugby injuries.

The total cost to ACC for sport-related claims in the 2010-11 financial year was $333,995,252, of which $29,356,295 was paid out for injuries in Wellington.

Gayle Snyders of Wellington's Willis St Physio said it was no surprise that rugby injuries cost ACC the most. In contact sports players could not predict the actions and movements of the opposition and it was those "unplanned forces" that often resulted in injury, she said.

"It's the unpredictability, which makes it fun to play and watch and more prone to injury."

She treated a lot of rugby players with knee and hamstring injuries.

"If your foot is planted and someone tackles you something has to give."

Groin injuries were also common in kickers. She advised patients to work on their fitness to avoid injury.

ACC spokesman Peter Wood said high injury rates in rugby did not mean rugby was more dangerous than other sports.

"It may be that there are simply more people playing rugby."

A large number of claims for rugby injuries needed no more than one or two visits to the doctor or physio, he said.

The number of serious spinal and brain injuries has reduced from more than 10 a year to less than three a year since ACC's RugbySmart programme was introduced in 2001.

The second most costly sport is football, with $23m being paid out in claims from July 2010 to June 2011. Despite being deemed a dangerous pursuit, bungy jumping cost ACC the least in sport-related claims, paying out just $38,514.

Sports injuries are a big cost to ACC but the biggest generator of claims is injuries in the home, which lead to about 600,000 claims each year.

PRICE OF PAIN

Top five sports that cost ACC the most in sport-related claims between July 2010 and June 2011:

1. Rugby union $56,188,339

2. Football $23,020698

3. Netball $19,046,440

4. Cycling $17,516,801

5. Rugby league $14,918,982

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