The AFL Players’ Association has paid more than $1 million to past players through the AFLPA’s Injury and Hardship Fund since the launch in April last year.
AFLPA alumni members have access to the Lifetime Health Care Program which reimburses out of pocket medical expenses on joint or dental procedures as well as the Geoff Pryor Hardship Fund.
Former players Marty Pask, Russell Morris and Mark Mickan are great examples of players who have taken up the option of receiving AFLPA financial assistance through Head of Alumni Brad Fisher.
Pask has encouraged past players in a similar situation to reach out to the AFLPA and make the most of the the support that has been offered.
“I’d go for runs and my toe would really blow up and it obviously reached the point where I reached out to the Players’ Association about what options are available for past players and learnt a little bit more about how they look after past players,” Pask said.
Morris had some idea of the assistance the AFLPA offered, but it was not until he explored all of his options that he realised just how much the fund could help.
“(They took care of) hospital fees, anesthesioligst fees amongst other things. Consulting fees at the Epworth (Hospital),” Morris said.
“I just kept my receipts. I filled all my documentation in. Money in the bank … fantastic.”
Mickan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016, was able to utilise the fund when he went in for groundbreaking brain surgery earlier this year.
“I wasn’t feeling very well and I was feeling really flat. So I went to the doctor and she diagnosed me with depression and I had a little tremor in my right hand, which I didn’t take much notice of but she said to me, ‘You better go and get that checked out,’” Mickan said.
“Sure enough he (the neurologist) said, ‘You’ve got Parkinson’s,’ which came as a bit of a shock.”
Mickan flew to Melbourne in May this year to undergo the necessary surgery he needed, thanks to financial assistance from the AFLPA, to limit the tremors he was experiencing.
“It was a difficult decision to (have surgery) because I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford it. If it wasn’t for the AFL Players’ Association I wouldn’t have been able to afford it at all,” Mickan said.
The injury and hardship fund was agreed upon during negotiations for the most recent collective bargaining agreement in 2017 and is open to anyone who played one or more VFL/AFL matches.
Current players have been key supporters of the initiative, carving out money from the CBA to assist the players who came before them.
Fisher has encouraged past players to contact the Players’ Association should they require assistance.
“We have a really strong program which allows us to support many players who experience a range of challenges post their playing careers,” Fisher said.
“That’s what we’re here for, to assist them with whatever is required and ensure they are well taken care of.”
Please contact Tim Harrington (on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0419 152 411) for more information on how you can access the fund.
- The Lifetime Health Care Program reimburses out of pocket medical expenses on joint or dental procedures (*dental injuries must be as a result of AFL playing career) up to $8,000 (or $6,000 for players without private health Insurance). $863,137 has been reimbursed directly to 240 past players since launching in April 2018.
- The Geoff Pryor Hardship Fund provides past players with a significant hardship support mechanism. In 2019, more than $260,000 has helped 37 players in hardship
- National Psychology Network – Members have complimentary access to one on one consultations through our National Psychology Network
- Alumni have accessed more than 650 sessions so far in 2019
- Bulk Billed Medical Consultation – AFL Doctors’ Association offer members Bulk Billed medical consultations.
- More than 300 members access this service annually
- Hospital Excess Reimbursements – Members receive a refund on any medical excess fee. So far in 2019, 89 Alumni members have received $40,070 in reimbursements