NEWS RELEASE Tuesday October 3, 2017
Financial support needed for injured player Jonathan Hefney to cover rehabilitative surgery after football injury; CFL currently does not cover rehab costs beyond 1 year, leaving players in financial distress and unable to recuperate
TORONTO – The Canadian Football League Players’ Association is calling on the CFL to provide solutions for injured player Jonathan Hefney as he still requires rehabilitative surgery after suffering a football injury sustained while playing in the CFL.
Hefney, a former Montreal Alouette halfback, was injured, suffering three fractured vertebrae and nerve damage in an October 1, 2015 game and has never played since, says CFLPA President Jeff Keeping, a former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman. And Hefney is not alone – because the CFL only provides injury rehabilitation for up to 12 months from the date of the injury and then cuts the player off, Keeping says.
Sadly, Keeping said, Hefney has been forced to launch a Go Fund Me page online at https://www.gofundme.com/4ik88e0 to appeal for donations to pay for his medical costs.
“Jonathan Hefney is a prime example of a very serious problem facing the CFL and our players – serious injuries requiring more than 12 months’ rehabilitation are simply not covered by the league nor are they covered by any workers’ compensation regulations in Canada,” Keeping said.
“That’s why the CFLPA launched our #1PlayAway campaign earlier this year and also submitted a Workers’ Compensation application for player coverage to the Alberta government,” Keeping said. “We have also met with the federal and several provincial sports ministers about the rehabilitation issue and are prepared to file applications to all Provinces for coverage.”
CFLPA Executive Director Brian Ramsay said in the meantime the CFL and the Club should pay for his much-needed surgery.
“It is more than distressing that a player is not receiving the medical care he needs to recuperate and to be able to get on with the rest of his life due to an injury suffered on the field, during a CFL game,” said Ramsay. “This should never happen and yet it is to Jonathan and other players as well.”
“We want to work with the CFL to solve this problem, potentially with provincial workers’ compensation coverage, so no player has to appeal for donations to cover medically necessary treatment to live their lives normally again,” says Ramsay. “New CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has been making excellent progress in addressing player injuries with the recent ban on full contact padded practices – this is another urgent issue that we hope to resolve working together with the League.”
A full story on Jonathan Hefney’s injury situation was published by the Ottawa Citizen at: http://ottawacitizen.com/sports/football/cfl/costs-benefits-jonathan-hefneys-injury-odyssey-shows-plight-of-athletes-in-canada
Another story on the workers’ compensation board application and issue is at: http://ottawacitizen.com/sports/local-sports/cfl-players-fighting-for-provincial-workers-benefit-coverage
And the CFLPA’s news release on the launch of the #1PlayAway campaign is at:
For more information: Brian Ramsay, CFLPA Executive Director at 1-800-616-6865