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Our weekly football gamble...

….ok so up to this point you’ve been lucky! Well most of us have anyway. The majority of you reading this, every week, or weekend, pull on your boots and partake in semi-professional or amateur football and can luckily say you’ve escaped the trauma of a serious injury.

Thousands of us play competitive sport, particularly football for the thrill, pleasure and satisfaction it gives us. For most of our footballing life, our misfortune will be marked by the odd bruise, strain, pull, cut or tear when we think of the injuries we’ve received. For the unluckily few it’s worse……far worse!

At the very peak of the football triangle, the pitches are perfect. Player conditioning at its optimum. Timing, fitness and coordination made up a large part of the attributes that got those million-pound stars where they are. They are backed by the best medical staff and physiotherapists money can buy. Despite all of this, horrific life-changing injuries still occur. When this happens an efficient machine involving the best treatment and financial support kicks in.

Is that the same for you?

If your contract states (in whatever terms it chooses) you will be paid sick pay at whatever the company rate is and there are no restrictions stated, then legally you can enforce being paid if a football injury stops you coming to work. Many contracts, however, state sick pay is at the discretion of the employer and can have qualifying conditions and restrictions. That leaves your employer with the option not to pay you for sporting injuries as long as they are not proven to be discriminating against you.

All you will be entitled to is SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) which is payable at £85.85 a week for up to 28 weeks. This would be a hit in our income that many of us would be unable to accommodate.

So, think of those manicured pitches, players and weighty support mechanisms at the summit of the game and compare that to the unkempt troughs, you play on. The lumbering, short of fitness and downright reckless players you may be about to encounter this weekend. The income, or worst still, the employment you could lose as a result of a long term injury. Add to this, the journey back to fitness, or even good health. Private healthcare aside, this could be another perilous road fraught with the potential for long waiting times and delays for crucial operations and additional physiotherapy costs.

Injuries through football come in all shapes and forms. Most of us expose ourselves to these every time we cross that line, without a thought for the risks we take.

Unless you look around your dressing room and are greeted by faces that regularly adorn the sports pages of the newspapers or flash across the screens of Sky or BT Sports, you should make sure that when you slip in your shin pads, protection extends way beyond that provided by the thin guards down your socks.

Good policies exist…have a look at this:

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