One could only speculate the last time Don Scott, Dermott Brereton, Greg Williams, Bernie Quinlan and Gary Dempsey were last in a room together.
Those legends along with a host of other AFL greats turned out in droves as the AFL Players’ Association launched the $24.7 million Injury and Hardship Fund — the first of its kind in Australian sport.
There were premiership players, best and fairest winners and Brownlow Medallists of yesteryear sprawled inside Richmond’s Sporting Globe where the like of Russell Greene, Dale Weightman, Michael Roach, David Neitz, Jimmy Buckley, Ken Sheldon, Ross Smith, Donald McDonald and Gavin Crossisca witnessed the fund that will help them and their former teammates deal with the on-going issues stemming from their football careers.
Former Hawthorn champion and media figure Dermott Brereton said the fund, negotiated by the current players in the last CBA, will help serve those who struggled before them.
“I went through a pretty good era for Hawthorn throughout the 80s and early 90s, we got out of football pretty well but not everybody is that fortunate,” Brereton told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“Some guys leave footy and are either financially strapped or physically not in a great place, and they don’t have the necessary means to fix up their ailments. This fund is really aimed at assisting those types of players who have given a lot to footy and need a little bit of help now post career.”
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.
One player whose career came to a dramatic halt was former Tiger Kelvin Moore.
Moore’s AFL career ended due to chronic hip troubles, and now, he struggles at times to pick up his child, and he believes this fund will benefit players like himself.
“From surgery to surgery, I ended up having nine on my hips, one on my jaw and one on my shoulder so 11 all up in a 10-year career,” Moore said.
“It’s a fair bit to go under the knife but having that support now that I will need to call on at some stage — my next operation will be hip replacements — hopefully not for a while but to have the support there that you know you can call on if needed is great.”
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.