Medical Support Scheme relieving the pressure on players

03 Nov 2016

Krej Web

"Players need to know that there is this option there for them at the end of their careers and into post-retirement."

That is the sentiment from former Australian test spinner Jason Krejza as echoed by the ACA coming in to the summer of cricket

The ACA is urging members to access its Medical Support Scheme this summer, which aims at lessening the financial burden of medical procedures post-retirement.

Aimed at supporting members beyond their retirement from cricket, the ongoing scheme is a crucial facet of the Past Player Program, managed by Clea Smith.

Smith said that the ACA Medical Support Scheme is available to all members and was still available to those who have been to hospital in the last twelve months.

"Sometimes it's illness or accidents that see our members in hospital, while other times it can be lingering injuries from playing the game can require medical intervention," Smith said.

"The ACA aims to support the costs associated with all hospital visits."

Somebody who knows all about the rigours of the sport is former Tasmanian and Australian off-spinner Jason Krejza.

Krejza, who underwent multiple operations throughout his career, was able to access financial assistance through the ACA Medical Support Scheme for an essential operation
at the end of his career.

"I spoke to the surgeon about my hip, and he said if I didn't get the operation done now, I would be back in for a full replacement in two years," Krejza said.

"I was speaking to (ACA's) Ben Smith about retirement stuff, and he reminded me that I was eligible to access the scheme in order to get the surgery done."

"I was very lucky, I needed to have surgery before Christmas and the surgeon fitted me in at 7pm, right before he went on holidays.

145 members have accessed over $80,000 in financial support since the scheme launched in 2013.

As indicated in recent Past Player research conducted by the ACA, nearly a third of members have had surgery since retirement, while nearly a third expect future surgeries to be necessary.

In perhaps the most pertinent statistic, nearly two thirds of past players are concerned about the financial burden of these operations.

The scheme provides for members to access $500 for out-of-pocket costs requiring hospitalisation for illness or injury, while for those requiring more significant help, up to $2000 was available.

Krejza was grateful to the ACA for the assistance, as it helped him get ready for the challenges of post-retirement.

"I couldn't be more grateful for the support of the Scheme which assisted me with the out- of-pocket hospital expenses for the surgery, " Krejza said.

"I've had a stack of operations throughout my career and while injuries are a part of the game, the reality is that a lot of players need clean ups post-playing and the financial burden can be quite a sting."

Throughout his career Krejza, who now lives in Sydney, accessed various sections of the ACA's services for players, including Education Grants and Game Development opportunities.

He is now engaged by North Sydney Cricket Club as Head Coach, under the Premier Cricket Program. He recognises how it is the joint responsibility of the wider sport to look after the players who have contributed to the game.

"In a way, what some players put themselves through throughout, It's the responsibility of all cricket to look after them," Krejza said.

"We train for longer and put massive amounts of stress on our bodies in cricket, there is lots of off-balance rotation and that can cause injuries not necessarily at the time, but after careers are finished."

The funding for the Past Player Game and Personal Development Program comes from a 26% share of Cricket Australia's 2015 World Cup profits.

This was negotiated as part of the current MOU of which $1 million per year has been allocated until June 2017.

To access the ACA Medical Support Scheme, please contact Clea Smith on 03 9698 7207 or csmith@auscricket.com.au.