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ACC launch SportSmart warm up

Released 28/09/16

ACC and New Zealand Football have teamed up for a new sports injury prevention programme.

A key to reducing the risk of injury is to warm up properly says ACC Sport Injury Prevention Manager Isaac Carlson as ACC launch the new SportSmart warm up programme.

ACC received just under half a million new claims last year for sports and recreation injuries at a cost of around $474 million.

“Warming up before playing sport improves performance, helps players to become physically and mentally prepared, and is a great step towards preventing injury,” says Mr Carlson.

“We want to encourage Kiwis to get the most out of their sport by helping them avoid sports-related injuries and staying in the game rather than spending time on the sidelines injured.”

In partnership with NZ Football, ACC is investing in SportSmart warm up, a programme based on the FIFA 11+ model which has a proven record in reducing significant injuries in athletes. As part of the partnership ACC has already provided funding to support the introduction of the NZ Football Injury Prevention team to deliver the FIFA11+ to 80,000 high school students, 4,000 coaches, and clubs around the country.

Mr Carlson says the benefits of the partnership and the FIFA11+ programme are already showing encouraging signs.

“Our research shows that the sooner we can get players to see the importance of warming up properly before going on the field, the better. We want everyone to enjoy their sport.

“The evidence suggests that traditional warm up methods of basic cardio-vascular exercise and static stretches are ineffective at preparing players to take the field. Warm up routines that also incorporate exercises to develop neuromuscular control are far more effective.

“We are targeting delivery of the programme to secondary school sport, which is where we see a large number of sports related injuries.

“We want to ensure our young sports people are learning effective methods to prepare well for sport.”

Mr Carlson says that coaches and teachers are key in influencing a change in the way that young athletes warm up and prepare for sport.

“There are huge benefits of working collaboratively with schools and national sports organisations to educate everyone engaging in sport on the importance of physical preparation”.

ACC has partnerships with NZ Football, NZ Rugby, Netball NZ, and NZ Rugby League.

ACC will invest in upskilling coaches on the SportSmart warm up programme through a “train the trainer” model. Coaches will learn how they can get the best out of their players through performing the warm up as part of regular training sessions.

“Players at all levels look to the coach for guidance so it’s vital they know how to run a warm up routine. Of course the message will hit home when they see fewer injuries and their players are kept on the field, rather than off it.”

Mr Carlson also acknowledges the importance of the involvement of parents, teachers and students who volunteer their time to coach others.

They also need to be involved in any session on the SportSmart warm up programme.

“Being well prepared, before, during and after your chosen sport or recreational activity can help you reduce injury, perform better and have more fun,” says Mr Carlson.

Find out more about the SportSmart warm up programme


FIFA 11+ is a proven to reduce injury by 30-50% in teams that performed it at least twice a week. It was developed by a group of international experts from FIFA’s Medical Assessment and Research Centre, the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre and the Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation. Teams performing this warm up at least twice a week had:

  • 37% fewer training Injuries
  • 29% fewer game Injuries
  • 30-50% reduction of severe injuries.

Find out more about the FIFA 11+ programme

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