Former AFL/VFL players requiring medical assistance to fix old football injuries can now access significant financial support thanks to a new $24.7 million AFL Players’ Injury and Hardship Fund.
Through the AFL Players’ Injury and Hardship Fund, AFLPA Alumni members can apply for grants of up to $8000 to cover the costs of treatment for joint and dental injuries stemming from their football careers.
The AFL Players’ Injury and Hardship Fund also provides support for hardship, income relief for delisted players who are unable to work due to football-related injury and hospital excess reimbursements.
Football-Ending Injury payments are also provided through this fund, with the criteria broadened to make payments possible to more players and better capture injuries such as concussion.
AFL Players’ CEO Paul Marsh says a modernised injury payments model is a necessity for one of the world’s toughest sports, particularly given the rising costs of maintaining good health.
“The average AFL career is just six years, but our research tells us 76 per cent of footballers leave the game with a serious injury and 64 per cent of those require ongoing treatment,” Marsh said.
“This fund aims to support those players as they transition out of the game and if they experience injury or illness that requires surgery or experience financial hardship through retirement.
“It is the most significant benefits for past players in the history of the AFL Players’ Association and positions AFL football as a code that prioritises the health of its athletes.”
AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield says the direction of $4 million per year (indexed) from the players’ share of industry revenue into the fund was a key priority throughout the recent CBA negotiations.
“We are extremely proud to carve out money for this fund, which will better support those who helped pave the way for the players of today,” he said.
Essendon champion Terry Daniher was one of more than 60 past players who gathered in Richmond on Tuesday to launch the fund.
“This is a huge benefit for us former players, particularly those who put their bodies through a lot when it was still just a suburban game.”
AFL Players Injury and Hardship Fund pillars:
- Lifetime Health Care
Players can access up to $8000 to cover treatment costs for joint injuries and dental procedures related to football.
- Football-Ending Injury
Players who exit the game due to an injury that prevents them from playing football at senior level in any other competition again are eligible for a payment based on their age and the base value of the final year of their standard playing contract.
- Delisted Injury Player Payment
Players who are unable to work immediately following their delisting due to an injury can access one month’s pay at the average Australian wage.
- Past Player Hardship
Grants may be directed to players who experience hardship due to injury, illness or wellbeing issues.
- Hospital Excess Reimbursement
Reimbursement of $500 to cover excess following a hospital stay.