New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is delighted to announce that their partner, ACC, has committed to a further five-year investment of over $9million into its injury prevention programme, RugbySmart.
The funding is in place to support all the incredible work being done to keep rugby participants safe, healthy and active in New Zealand.
NZR recognise that sport is a powerful enabler of hauora (physical, mental, social and spiritual health) and wellbeing and that rugby clubs are an integral part of many people's lives, therefore, the focus for the next five-year term is to use the influence that rugby has as a vehicle to create positive social change in communities.
RugbySmart launched in 2001 and is widely recognised internationally as a world-leading rugby injury prevention programme. It has already had huge success on the field and over the past four years has prevented an estimated 25,000 claims and limited the number of serious injury claims to less than one per annum.
But New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Mark Robinson said investment in rugby safety was more than just injury prevention on the field, and looking after players off the field was also a priority.
Rugby is at the heart of many New Zealand communities and plays a significant role in the lives of many of us. Through rugby, we believe we have an opportunity to help make positive social change, and our partnership with ACC helps us to do this.
“Our goal for RugbySmart is for everyone involved in our game to be safer, healthier and more active. We’re committed to achieving that outcome.
“ACC’s investment will help provide the support and resources needed to make sure our rugby environments are safe, inclusive, and support the needs of their communities.”
Over the next five years the RugbySmart programme will focus on five key outcomes: (1) More people playing rugby safely, (2) The value and self-worth of tamariki and rangitahi are enhanced and supported through rugby, (3) Girls and women feel engaged and valued on and off the field (4) Rugby is responsive to diverse needs, including Māori and Pasifika communities, and special interest groups and (5) Rugby environments are safe, inclusive, and support the needs of their communities.
Isaac Carlson, the Head of Injury Prevention at ACC, said this partnership is a huge opportunity to further the positive impact that rugby can have in New Zealand.
“Rugby clubs are an integral part of our community and NZR play an influential role in connecting with players, coaches, referees, volunteers, whanau and the wider community to make a difference in the areas of social responsibility and improving culture," he said.
The new investment cycle starts on November 1, and NZR is heavily focused on taking the lead in tackling some of society's toughest issues, such as harm, sexual violence and child protection.