Injured Wanganui rugby, netball and soccer players were paid out more than $1.15 million in lost wages and rehabilitation fees last year by ACC.
Figures released to the Chronicle reveal the number and cost of serious netball, rugby league, rugby union and soccer-related injury claims during the past three financial years.
Any injuries that require ACC to make weekly compensation payments for lost wages and rehabilitation are classed as serious. Those that require only medical treatment are not included.
Most of the amount paid out for local injuries related to rugby union. The number of new serious injury claims for the code has risen in the past three years, up from 38 in 2009/10 to 43 last financial year.
However, Wanganui Rugby chief executive Dale Cobb was surprised by the figures and said injury prevention had been a top priority in the region last year.
"It's probably news to me, to be perfectly honest. I thought our injuries were quite low, especially for last year."
Mr Cobb said all coaches who worked at secondary level and above took compulsory "accident prevention rugby smart courses".
The courses covered correct tackling technique and fitness initiatives contributing to player safety.
However, rugby was a contact sport and some injuries were unavoidable, he admitted.
A breakdown of new serious injury claims for Wanganui last financial year shows 25 were netball-related, five for rugby league and 26 were soccer-related.
Nationally, the injury stats indicate the four "priority sports" - codes with high numbers of players and injury claim costs - are becoming safer. The number of new serious injury claims for netball, rugby league, rugby union and soccer have steadily fallen in the past three years - down from 8473 in 2009/10 to 7856 in 2011/12.
The combined injury claims cost taxpayers nearly $230 million, according to ACC.
ACC programme manager for sport Joe Harawira said each code worked hard to reduce injuries within their communities.
"We set a target of 2 per cent reduction in entitlement claims from the priority sports of rugby union, league, netball and football [over the last two financial years]."
The target was well and truly exceeded, with an overall drop of 5 per cent, Mr Harawira said.
"What makes this result even more pleasing is that there were unprecedented increases in player registration in each of these priority sports last year."
Serious injury claim costs from the four priority sports made up more than a fifth of all ACC sport and recreation-related claim costs, Mr Harawira said.
However, the most common type of sport-related injuries were "soft tissue" injuries, such as bruises, strains and sprains - which were not classed as serious injuries by ACC. APNZ