© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2024

Cantabrians love sports. But at what cost?

Georgie Hanafin

In 2021 ACC accepted over 1.9 million new claims, costing around $1.5 billion. Ongoing claims from previous years cost a further $3 billion. But how much does sport cost Canterbury?

Of these claims, 507,212 were active sports ones, with ACC paying out close to $695 million for sports and exercise related injuries across New Zealand.

ACC provided stats for the top ten injurious sports in Canterbury in 2021. Combined, they had a total of 32,293 claims during this period. 

Coming in hot for the number one spot, maybe unsurprisingly for some, was rugby union with 7352 claims. 

Cycling crossed in second place, with 5094 for the 2021 period, and fitness or gym accidents slid in for third with 4869 active claims.

In what could be considered a shock loss for the more blood-thirsty fans of the game, coming in tenth place was rugby league - with a mere 802 claims. 

Netball has been a huge part of 34-year-old Sarah Gardiner's life since she was introduced to the sport in primary school. 

"I've loved everything about it from the minute I picked up the ball. It's always been a good way to stay fit and release some aggression on the courts," she laughs. 

During an after-work training session in 2019, Gardiner slipped on the wet court and badly sprained her ankle, leaving her off work, in pain, and out of pocket.

"It's not just the physical or financial pain though. Going from two feet to one foot made everything impossible."

Gardiner has a three-year-old son with autism who she says is a notorious runner, something she was unable to do for a long time while she recovered. 

"Parenting was really hard. I wasn't able to react as quickly as I need to and my husband had to take time off work to take over the at-home parent role. It was hard for everyone.


Mike Peacock is the Sports Development Advisor at Sport Canterbury. 

He says the most popular sports in Canterbury based on participation numbers are basketball, netball, rugby union, volleyball, and football - in no particular order. 

"Basketball and netball are known for knee injuries."

Peacock says injuries are unfortunately part of playing sport, although there are ways to avoid missing your favourite activity.

"Keep a balanced life, make time for recovery and rest, ensure you have a good base of fitness (relative to the sport), monitor workloads, always warm up and cool down stretch."

He also says following the rules of the game and listening to your physicians is vital. 

"Wear the appropriate protective equipment, play to the rules, and don’t play when you’re injured!"