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Preventing sports injuries at the national level: time for other nations to follow New Zealand’s remarkable success
  1. John W Orchard
  1. Dr J W Orchard, Sports Clinic, Cnr Western Ave and Physics Road, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia; johnorchard{at}

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Imagine yourself reading an editorial in Traffic Injury Prevention about the best system for preventing and managing traffic accidents. The editorial suggests that it is wrong for national governments to take an interest in preventing and managing road trauma. It argues that competition among car manufacturers, local governments and trauma hospitals can be relied upon to ensure road safety. It asserts that driving a motor vehicle is an inherently risky activity and that motor vehicle users should not expect non-driving taxpayers to help fund national government involvement.

As you read that editorial you disagree vehemently, perhaps even feeling outrage. You are aware that the countries in which national government bodies are dedicated to preventing and managing traffic accidents have excellent records at lowering mortality and have lower rates of injury than those countries without organised systems.1 You appreciate that the editorial mounts an argument that may sound good in theory, but in the real world it has been proven wrong. The laissez-faire (“do nothing”) approach to traffic injuries costs countries like India (which lack necessary government infrastructure) thousands of deaths per year compared with countries that have nationwide systems dedicated to lowering traffic injuries.2

Now imagine a similar editorial about sports injuries in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Very few countries have a national government body taking responsibility for sports injuries. Generally, countries rely on the general health …

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  • Competing interests: None.