Following the unfortunate occurrence that befell Marvin Odongo on national duty while in Kenya and the hustle that followed in trying to raise funds for his operation because the insurance couldn’t cover the cost since he was not in the country. Below is an overview of why “proper” insurance is necessary and the dangers faced in having a contact sport without it.
Sports injuries can be a dangerous liability concern for the player involved, coaches, team managers and all other stakeholders. When protecting athletes, the responsibility often falls to governing bodies to take measures that help prevent, identify and appropriately treat injuries in the best way possible.
In all honesty, medical cover for rugby players is the least that the caretakers of the sport can offer – even if they are unable to provide adequate payment or training and game facilities, for a sport with the magnitude of contact as rugby, medical cover is a necessity.
What’s the Benefit of Sports Insurance?
There are various obvious benefits of insurance in sports but according to research, the main benefit is piece of mind – the fact that a player will be comfortable enough to don a jersey and do what is expected of them without any worries of how things will be handled in the unfortunate event of an injury.
Who’s going to pay the bills if you’re off injured? – Knowing you can take part in sport and if anything happened such as an injury, you would be able to have medical bills and costs met without having to go to your own bank account.
Many times, we have seen players dig into their own pockets to cover their own medical bills for injuries attained while in service of club and country. Much as people wouldn’t want to talk about it, this is a painful period for the player to go through – there is a sense of betrayal and a loss of trust in the system altogether.
It is not only dangerous for the player himself but the sport in general, this can create a ripple effect where other players won’t be able to deliver 100% for their teams knowing that once they get injured, that is an issue they face alone – some even stop playing for that matter. If you can’t have a player engaging fully in a tackle then there is no point in taking part in rugby because tackling is a cornerstone of the sport.
It is important for the authorities of the game to understand fully the kind of medical cover contracts they get themselves in, if possible a lawyer of reputable competence should look over the documents to make sure that the insurance from the given institution covers all aspects of injury from point of training to game day whether home or away. It is very embarrassing to have a player on national duty stranded in another country because of medical issues with the insurance company or hospital – this speaks margins about the country and the game; not in a good way.
Career Ending Insurance
Another form of insurance that needs to be looked upon is the career ending insurance that is very crucial yet not spoken of often. In a sport as aggressive as rugby, anything can happen at any moment that can lead doctors to tell one to cease playing in fear of their life and general welbeing.
The sport needs to be looked at in a professional angle if we are to grow it in the country, avoid the mentality that someone will simply return to their day job and move on with life after the getting hurt playing the sport.
Rugby is a day job for many these days, we expect the best from players, we go on social media and bash them when the results don’t go our way but have we ever thought of what they go through or what they might be lacking. There is a lot more to ponder than what meets the eye, players should know that in the regrettable event that they are unable to play the game again, there should be a package to cover their lives for sometime before they can find their feet. Call it a compensation package of sort.
Players need to take a stand
I am all for discipline and going through the right channels but it is appalling that players do not have a union that helps push their grievances forward in a civilised manner and helps make decisions that all players should adhere to in order to achieve what is best for them.
If players see these things happening to their mates and look the other way simply because it wasn’t them, then it is pointless for people like me to write such articles or make noise on given platforms.
This is not an urge for people to rebel but take a stand in a civilised way – things need to be done better. As i always say, if you want professionalism, you have to act professional. Provide the players with most if not all of what they need and then we can demand results and call the shots without fear or favour.
Things we need to avoid
As people that hold high offices in respective branches of the game, there should be a certain level of responsibility that incumbents should have. Whether in personal endeavours or on official duty, officials shouldn’t be paraphrased saying that players aren’t a priority. Such things kill the spirit of the game and we should do away with such selfish minded individuals from a game we all love.
All in all, we need to point out the flaws of our past in order to better the future – i pray that i have initiated a starting point that will propel people that are more technical to look into the matter of securing insurance for our clubs and for the national team ; an insurance offer that actually makes sense otherwise what if we only had away games this year, does that mean that we wouldn’t be able to access medical assistance. The Players deserve better.
But most important of all, Let us take care of our players – for their own good, for our good and for the good of the sport.
My two cents