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RugbySmart is the most successful injury prevention programme run by any sport in New Zealand and is certainly one of the most successful performance and injury prevention programmes anywhere in the world.

Every year since RugbySmart started we’ve seen significant drops in rugby-related injury claims. Last year, claims dropped by a further 3.5%.

The news gets better when we look at key injury areas over the past year:

  • 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%.

Serious spinal and head injuries … which used be 10-plus a year pre-RugbySmart have stayed around one or two per year for the last few seasons. Our goal is to totally eliminate them from our game.

"The best predictor of injury is recent injury. And the message from this is you don’t play injured. You make sure you get an injury treated properly, fully recovered and then get back on the rugby field."

AREAS WE ALL NEED TO LOOK AT IN THE COMING YEAR ARE:

Good technique is safe technique … but we’ll also be asking every referee, coach and player to look at:

  • Tackles. We’re seeing higher tackles because the support players are now targeting the ball and we want to make sure those injuries stats keep dropping.
  • Concussion. Do we understand what concussion is and who has the responsibility in managing if someone is concussed or not?
  • And, scrum engagement - has it changed for 2014?