Financial motivation can encourage greater sports injury prevention efforts
A landmark study published recently in the BMJ has shown that the rate of catastrophic spinal injury in rugby union in New Zealand has halved.1 For the period 2001–2005, the rate was 1.3 spinal injuries per 100 000 players per year, compared with 2.7 per 100 000 players per year in the period 1996–2000, which was typical of the previous 25 years.1 This drop coincided with the introduction of “RugbySmart” (http://www.rugbysmart.co.nz), a 10-point annual injury prevention program that was made compulsory from 2001 for all coaches and referees in New Zealand.1,2 While the observational study does not claim that the drop in catastrophic spinal injuries can be unequivocally attributed to RugbySmart, an accompanying editorial in the BMJ stated: “The beauty of the RugbySmart programme is that it can do no harm, and according to the results of this study may do great good”.3
- 1. Quarrie KL, Gianotti SM, Hopkins WG, Hume PA. Effect of nationwide injury prevention programme on serious spinal injuries in New Zealand rugby union: ecological study. BMJ 2007; 334: 1150-1153.
- 2. Gianotti S, Quarrie K, Hopkins W. RugbySmart — the prevention of serious injuries in rugby union. In: Proceedings of the New Zealand Sports Medicine and Science Conference; 2006 Nov 16-18; Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington: Sports Medicine New Zealand; 2006. p. 47.
- 3. Noakes TD, Draper CE. Preventing spinal cord injuries in rugby union [editorial]. BMJ 2007; 334: 1122-1123.
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- 5. Berry JG, Harrison JE, Yeo JD, et al. Cervical spinal cord injury in rugby union and rugby league: are incidence rates declining in NSW? Aust N Z J Public Health 2006; 30: 268-274.
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- 7. Coates J, Orchard J. Is ‘reasonable’ compensation for quadriplegia in sport affordable? In: Proceedings of the Fifth National Sports Injury Prevention Conference; 2007 Oct 14-16; Adelaide, Australia. Canberra: Sports Medicine Australia; 2007. In press.
- 8. Quarrie KL, Gianotti SM, Chalmers DJ, Hopkins WG. An evaluation of mouthguard requirements and dental injuries in New Zealand rugby union. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39: 650-651.
- 9. Gianotti S, Hume PA. A cost-outcome approach to pre and post-implementation of national sports injury prevention programmes. J Sci Med Sport 2007 Mar 10 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.10.006.
- 10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ten great public health achievements — United States, 1900–1999. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1999; 48: 241-243.
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