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Towards evidence-informed sports safety policy for New South Wales, Australia: assessing the readiness of the sector
  1. R Poulos1,
  2. A Donaldson2,
  3. C Finch2
  1. 1The School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia;
  2. 2School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Mt Helen, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr R Poulos, The School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2052, Australia; r.poulos{at}

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Policy-related interventions can contribute significantly to successful public health action.1 However, inadequate health promotion policy can result in: poor stakeholder engagement; responsibility division across government; short-term funding and unsustainable programmes; haphazard resource development and distribution; mixed messages; information overload; and a lack of standardised guidelines.2

The need for safety policy in sport is well recognised, and there has been a recent call for global attention to the development of sports safety policy to ensure significant safety gains are made for all.3 This call has highlighted the need to better integrate the efforts of governments (particularly health departments) and sporting organisations, and to improve the sports safety “science to policy” interface. There are few examples of the development of national and state/provisional overarching sports safety policies, regulations, or strategic plans. In Quebec, Canada, the government adopted the Act Respecting Safety in Sport in 1979 and established the Quebec Sports Safety Board with responsibility for “supervising personal safety and integrity in the practice of sports”.4 The Quebec Sports Safety Board coordinates provincial sports safety activities, particularly focusing on developing and implementing safety standards in partnership with sports federations. In New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation has established the SportSmart national sports injury prevention programme to systematically reduce and eliminate avoidable injuries by implementing and monitoring specific strategies.5

In Australia, sports injury prevention has been on the national health policy agenda to varying degrees since 1994,6 but policy progress has been limited, and primarily focused on “micro policy” covering single issues (eg, drugs in sport, pregnancy, portable soccer goals, etc)7 8 or specific to individual sports, such as football codes.9 10

In 1995, the Australian Sports Injury Prevention Taskforce was established, leading to the development of the Australian Sports Safety Framework in 1997,11 and …

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  • Funding This research was supported by a grant from the NSW Sporting Injuries Committee. RGP was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Capacity Building Grant in Injury, Trauma and Rehabilitation. CFF was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained.

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