The National Rugby League (NRL) has launched a “whole of game” Foundation that provides support for players who incur catastrophic injuries whilst playing rugby league. The Foundation supports players at all levels from grassroots junior football through to the NRL and will provide assistance for players who suffer severe functional disabilities (e.g. brain or spinal cord injury). The whole of game Foundation will provide funding to cover interim medical and other expenses in addiiton to insurance coverage.
NRL Insurance Scheme
The current $1 million threshold for insurance payouts available to NRL players was implemented in July 2014 and applies to most serious injuries (e.g. paraplegia, quadriplegia, career-ending loss of use of limb and loss of sight). The scheme also incorporates employment salary protetion for a period of two years. For more information on the NRL Insurance Scheme, click here.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
It will be a novel test-case to determine whether players who develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease common in athletes who suffere repetitive brain trauma, concussions and sub-concussions, are able to claim from the Foundation if they are able to prove a causative link to their careers in the NRL. This issue has been strongly litigated in other sporting codes such as the National Football League, who recently settled a class-action lawsuit from former players – allowing for a compensation payment of up to $5 million per player.