GRFU places spotlight on players’ health insurance

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By Akeem Greene

Both male and female senior national rugby teams are set to be involved in a number of activities in the coming months and the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) is trying devise a plan to better handle players’ health insurance.

After female player Abioce Heywood suffered a traumatic head injury while on national duty in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Championship in Mexico City last November, concerns have been raised regarding the insurance of players.

“I realise you are making reference to the inadequate insurance for the female player in Mexico which was unfortunate; what happened was due to inadequate funds…while we had them covered the insurance was not for that level of injury,” GRFU President Peter Green told reporters on Monday when questioned on the burning issue.

He added, “We have always had them covered. I was upset since the rules are very clear, when a player suffers a concussion they are supposed to come off the field and that was not done. In hindsight, we are not going to let that happen again but these things do happen in rugby.”

GRFU President Peter Green

Just last month, the Guyana Football Federation announced that approval was granted at its Ordinary Congress for the setting up of a National Insurance Policy for players and officials countrywide.

Green is optimistic that Rugby can develop a similar policy, even as they battle to wipe off the $2.3 million debt incurred from the additional health care which was needed for Heywood in Mexico.

“If you are asking us to cover death and disabilities that is being worked on; Football has come up with something and hopefully we will able to announce something too but that is priority on the players’ welfare,” he said.

Senior Vice-President Major Earl Edghill explained that the Union has undertaken the task of training officials on how to handle serious injuries.

“Since that incident we have trained persons in concussion treatment and identification. Apart from the fact that insurance is put in place, this is another insurance we put in place for us at home. Sometimes it slips away from us a player may get injured at home and it is not identified and then they go overseas and it gets worst,” Edghill conveyed.

The Union is scheduled to send a male team to the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia from July 29- August 3. They then play three matches in the said country as part of the Americas Challenge Series from August 25-September 2.  A male and female team will subsequently travel to Barbados for the RAN Sevens tournament on September 22-23.

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