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Sports-related injuries in New Zealand: National Insurance (Accident Compensation Corporation) claims for five sporting codes from 2012 to 2016
  1. Doug King1,2,
  2. Patria A Hume1,3,
  3. Natalie Hardaker1,4,
  4. Cloe Cummins2,
  5. Conor Gissane5,
  6. Trevor Clark6
  1. 1 Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), Faculty of Health and Environmental Science, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2 School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 National Institute of Stroke and Applied Neuroscience (NISAN), Faculty of Health and Environmental Science, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4 Accident Compensation Corporation, Wellington, New Zealand
  5. 5 School of Sport Health and Applied Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, New Zealand
  6. 6 Department of Sport Performance, Australian College of Physical Education, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Doug King, Emergency Department, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Lower Hutt 5010, New Zealand; doug.king35{at}


Objectives To provide epidemiological data and related costs for sport-related injuries of five sporting codes (cricket, netball, rugby league, rugby union and football) in New Zealand for moderate-to-serious and serious injury claims.

Methods A retrospective analytical review using detailed descriptive epidemiological data obtained from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for 2012–2016.

Results Over the 5 years of study data, rugby union recorded the most moderate-to-serious injury entitlement claims (25 226) and costs (New Zealand dollars (NZD$)267 359 440 (£139 084 749)) resulting in the highest mean cost (NZD$10 484 (£5454)) per moderate-to-serious injury entitlement claim. Rugby union recorded more serious injury entitlement claims (n=454) than cricket (t(4)=−66.6; P<0.0001); netball (t(4)=−45.1; P<0.0001); rugby league (t(4)=−61.4; P<0.0001) and football (t(4)=66.6; P<0.0001) for 2012–2016. There was a twofold increase in the number of female moderate-to-serious injury entitlement claims for football (RR 2.6 (95%CI 2.2 to 2.9); P<0.0001) compared with cricket, and a threefold increase when compared with rugby union (risk ratio (RR) 3.1 (95%CI 2.9 to 3.3); P<0.0001). Moderate-to-serious concussion claims increased between 2012 and 2016 for netball (RR 3.7 (95%CI 1.9 to 7.1); P<0.0001), rugby union (RR 2.0 (95% CI 1.6 to 2.4); P<0.0001) and football (RR 2.3 (95%CI 1.6 to 3.2); P<0.0001). Nearly a quarter of moderate-to-serious entitlement claims (23%) and costs (24%) were to participants aged 35 years or older.

Conclusions Rugby union and rugby league have the highest total number and costs associated with injury. Accurate sport exposure data are needed to enable injury risk calculations.

  • sporting injuries
  • rugby
  • netball
  • cricket
  • soccer

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  • Contributors According to the definition given by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the authors listed above qualify for authorship based on making one or more of the substantial contributions to the intellectual content of: (i) conception and design (DK; PAH; NH); (ii) acquisition of data (NH; DK; PAH); (iii) analysis and interpretation of data (DK, PAH, NH, CC, CG, TC); (iv) participated in drafting of the manuscript (DK, PAH, NH, CC, CG, TC); (v) critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content (DK, PAH, NH, CC, CG, TC).

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical consent was sought from the central region Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC), but was not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.