JFF, UHWI in groundbreaking pact
Members of Jamaica's national football squads can now rest assured that injuries will be comprehensively and thoroughly tested and treated, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) on Wednesday.
The deal is expected to run for three to five years and will cost more than $10 million. Under the MOU, there will be in-depth research, prematch tests, diagnostics, rehabilitation and a host of other services of the highest standard.
JFF president Michael Ricketts said it was a very special day.
"Our players come first and through this MOU, we made a symbolic gesture which will formalise an arrangement with the UHWI and the federation," Ricketts said.
The JFF boss said there were times in the past when young players are involved in accidents and the federation did not know where to take them, and there have often been complaints from parents and clubs.
UHWI, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kevin Allen said despite the huge cost attached, deeds like these are a part of the hospital's corporate social responsibility and a long-standing tradition, giving back to the country and people through sports.
2022 World Cup campaign
The hospital also intends to be at the forefront of the 2022 World Cup campaign to Qatar and will offer emergency and diagnostics services, including MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds.
"In developing the diagnostics services, we have to be conscious about rehabilitation and we are developing that programme," he reasoned. Transportation services will also be included, even though it will be limited to Kingston and its environs.
Medical Chief of Staff Dr Carl Bruce noted that the tech-nological advancements the hospital made recently are in line with world standards, and local and even international players will be privileged to this world-class treatment.
"We want to ensure when international athletes come ... we take care of them. The diagnostic services are digital and we have the experts and equipment. In the case of any unfortunate situation, players who we treat from overseas, we will send the information to their doctors or clubs at the click of a button so they can continue to manage their treatment," he added.
"The need is obvious as football grows and the reach grows, the demand from FIFA and CONCACAF is for the protection of athletes with proper services. When you have a reputable institution with the required equipment and personnel to investigate and help with the management and evaluation, they (footballers) will be more confident and play the game with a positive effort ... so the overall health and safety of the athlete is the main issue," said consultant Dr Guyan Arscott.