Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Imagine putting in over 20 hours a week to train, and spending years training for a major event like the Olympics, only to end up injured and not being able to afford the proper treatment that is needed. This is very common for athletes in Canada. Elite athletes are “carded” when they reach a certain performance in their sport, and then they have access to perks such as financial assistance and medical insurance.
But what about the athletes that have not been carded in their sport? What about the athletes that need to have some sort of insurance to safe guard in case they become injured?
Canada has the Canadian Athlete Insurance Program (CAIP). This insurance program helps athletes as it gives them more coverage on medical treatments than other regular health insurance plans. These athletes can then be covered for incidents relating to their training, i.e. overuse injuries and chronic injuries. Coverage includes but is not limited to massage therapy, chiropractor, athletic therapy and physiotherapy.
Canadian athletes can apply to be covered under CAIP, and they need only to be a member of their provincial or national sport governing organization. The premiums are ranked on coverage available and range from $65 a year to $230 per year.
Not only does this insurance cover Canadian athletes who compete in Canada, but this coverage will also cover them when they have to travel outside of Canada for training or competitions.
It is important for our athletes in Canada to have the coverage they need in order to spend countless hours training and having the prevention and treatment methods necessary for them in order to sustain their efforts. The Canadian athlete development program is mild compared to many other countries. Some Eastern European countries treat their athletes as professionals, and pay them as such. In Canada, we do not treat athletes alongside of other professionals and thus, any little step can help athletes.
Athletes are fortunate in Canada to be able to apply to this program to get the support that they need in order to continue to train hard, and to be able to keep their eye on the podium and represent their nation.
We should be proud of our athletes, and do what we can to support them with their training needs.