Injuries are nightmares to football players and are some of the most common threats to the life span of their playing careers. While hopefully infrequent, they are often an unavoidable part of sport participation.
The physical effects of injuries to players are widely known. However, the most daunting task is the recovery period which strikes hard on the psychological side of the players with many thoughts crossing their minds. The psychological side is less frequently discussed and supported. Mental health affects rehabilitation outcomes and recovery. Therefore, for players that suffer nagging and long-term injuries, psychological management is crucial.
In 2019, the 95th FUFA Assembly held in Adjumani saw it wise to start a Medical Insurance scheme to cater for players in the Uganda Premier League. It was the biggest news to club football as it would bring an end to huge sums of monies spent by clubs on treatment of player’s injuries.
To a section of people that always look at tangible contributions from FUFA towards domestic competitions, the insurance scheme arrived with criticism. However, FUFA under the leadership of President Hon. Magogo Moses Hassim took the initial steps as they monitored and supervised the medical insurance scheme rollout. Four years down the road, the impact has been far reaching with FUFA looking to widen the pool of beneficiaries.
FUFA Deputy CEO-Services, Humphrey Mandu where the medical insurance scheme falls gives a synopsis of how the whole idea was mooted and later hatched into reality.
‘We managed to come up with a concept given the guidance by the FUFA EXCO and managed to secure three service providers under Medical Insurance. Basically, the issue was about the plight of players especially in the elite league because they form the core of the national teams. Meaning that having a healthy league player meant you would have a healthy player for the national team,’
*But what does the FUFA Medical Insurance Scheme entail?
The FUFA Medical Insurance Scheme covers injuries players sustain during league games, dental, accidents off the pitch and sickness.
Additionally, a player has the liberty to have any two persons of his/her choice partaking of the insurance cover.
Clubs give testimonies of how the scheme has been a timely intervention knowing that some of the would be direct costs to the teams are catered for by the FUFA Medical Insurance Scheme.
*Harold Atukwatse – Soltilo Bright Stars FC official
‘We had two players last year who underwent surgeries, they were on the sidelines for about six or seven months. Previously, we used to have players who would be forced to play on with injuries and that would affect their performance in the end. However, this has changed with the arrival of the FUFA Medical Insurance Scheme. When a player sustains an injury, you just notify the federation and he is attended to and we are really grateful.’
*Anisha Muhoozi – KCCA FC CEO
‘It is very good if players are able to access the basic needs such as medication because this gives guarantee to their careers. Earlier on, many were forced to abandon their careers because either clubs or individually would not be able to foot the bills that come along with the recovery process.‘
Players who have directly benefited from the FUFA Insurance cover share their story as well and appreciate the Federation.
*Grace Nassongo – She Corporate FC Forward
‘It was a hard moment for me and it only took the strong mentality that I have. But I’m grateful for the support I got from my friends, family and teammates and above all FUFA who extended the support through medication. When you go through such a period and you have a shoulder to lean on, it becomes easy, so special appreciation to FUFA’
*Rhonah Nantege – She Corporate FC Forward
“Being down and not being able to help my team was a bad experience but I am happy that finally, I can kick the ball again and slowly getting back. I want to thank FUFA because of this programme because today its me, tomorrow it will be another player from some other team. When you consider the bills, it is difficult for a player or club to incur but we are able to get such medication for free.”
*Josephat Ayebare -Ndejje University FC defender
“I sustained an injury when we playing a FUFA Drum game between my team Kigezi against Buganda in Nakisunga. I was treated very well at St. Catherine, underwent a surgery and went through the recovery process. The entire process cost about eleven million shillings. Personally, I would not be able to raise such money but I’m thankful to FUFA that all the bills were covered and I’m back playing football.”
*Shadia Nankya – UCU Lady Cardinals defender
“I had never sustained a serious injury and it really got me thinking what I would do incase I cannot play football anymore. But the doctors took me through the whole process, my family was behind me and the operation was successful. The rehabilitation process was challenging but I kept the belief and after almost seven months, I was able to play again. I cannot express by gratitude to FUFA in words but deep down my heart, I am thankfully that FUFA offered me support during a tough period.”
FUFA Medical Insurance scheme is here to give players an opportunity to live and play for longer periods with less worries about injuries.
*Credit: FUFA media.