THE ROLE OF THE LAWYERS IN SPORTS INSURANCE POLICIES PART 5 - PICKNSTAKE.COM

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Friday, 16 November 2018

THE ROLE OF THE LAWYERS IN SPORTS INSURANCE POLICIES PART 5

Authored by: Joshua Charalambous, Steven Aitken

Career ending insurance

Sometimes, despite talent, athletes are prevented from fulfilling their potential due to career-ending injuries. Specific policies are available to cover athletes for loss of current and future potential earnings following an injury although they are often found within personal accident policies. Often the policy will provide sportspeople with a lump sum (tax-free) and can also include potential earnings from commercial sponsorships/ endorsements.



Fabrice Muamba memorably collapsed whilst playing for Bolton versus Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. Muamba was reportedly on c. £35,000 per week and was only 23 when his career was ended. Muamba did have insurance although the details are confidential. We do not know whether Muamba had a policy that paid a lump sum for lost potential earnings, but the potential total figure could have been huge. By way of illustration, if Muamba had stayed on £35,000 per week (it would likely have increased) for another ten years, he would have earned at least £18.2m before tax.



Another notable example involves Steve Thompson (the retired England Rugby World Cup winning hooker). Thompson suffered what he thought was a career ending injury after damagin his neck playing for Northampton Saints. Thompson famously returned to the sport later that year after surgery and being passed fit to play. Thompson had received a significant pay-out from his insurers which he had to pay back before he could return to the sport.



The policies should explicitly state that the athlete will not be able to compete professionally in the sport after they have made a claim. Thompson retired in 2011 after a recurrence of the original injury, and the details of a second insurance pay-out (if any) are unknown.

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