'Disappointing' Duggan case proves injury compensation vital, warn GPA
THE Gaelic Players Association (GPA) have branded the situation that sees former Cork footballer Diarmuid Duggan €7,000 out of pocket after an operation "very disappointing".
Duggan left the Rebel panel in the summer of 2009 due to a hip injury and went under the knife on two occasions -- paying for the second operation himself -- in a bid to save his career.
The Ilen Rovers clubman spent €10,000 in the process and has so far only recouped €3,000 -- which came from the GPA's benevolent fund.
"It's very disappointing that this situation has been treated this way," said GPA spokesperson Sean Potts.
"These are exactly the kind of cases that the GPA came into existence for -- where someone needed help but was ignored. We cannot have a situation where a player is out of pocket for playing our games and cover of injuries continues to be one of the main concerns of our members.
"They want to know they are covered and that they will be looked after correctly should the need arise.
"However, this case also raises the issue of the player injury scheme and the level of awareness of how to access it and how claims are processed."
The story has sparked fears that a number of similar claims lie around the corner. The GPA's benevolent fund amounts to around €100,000 per annum and Potts warned that such cases highlight the scheme's importance.
"It is essential that this fund is strengthened," he said. "We have seen enquiries from our membership rise with (regard to) both injuries and hardship cases -- which are becoming more prevalent in the current economic climate -- and we will undertake some extensive fundraising both at home and in the US."
The GAA's injury scheme covers players of all levels for medical expenses of up to €4,500 while the GPA also have an "Enhanced Injury Scheme" in place for inter-county hurlers and footballers. Players have to start the claims process within 60 days of the injury but can recoup an additional €1,500 in medical bills, lost earnings and dental benefits.