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JFF, UHWI sign multimillion-dollar deal to assist injured players

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior Staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) worth millions of dollars in assistance to injured national players.

The deal was announced yesterday at the JFF headquarters in New Kingston, and it will see national players having access to 140 MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) worth $5million; 120 CT Scans worth $2.5million; 100 echocardiogram studies worth $2million and 60 X-Rays valued at approximately $130,000. Rehabilitation services will also be on the cards.

Kevin Allen, chief executive officer of the UHWI, said it was a part of their social corporate responsibility to the country and its people.

“The University Hospital wants to be on the forefront to get Jamaica back in terms of the next World Cup in 2022 in Doha, Qatar,” said Allen to loud applause.

“So the UHWI will be playing a pivotal role left, front and centre. What is on the table that we are offering is emergency services. It's a step in the right direction and we want to play our part,” he added.

JFF President Michael Ricketts noted that this MOU is a special one and is in line with his organisation's policies and commitment.

“I am delighted because a number of times we have our young players getting involved in accidents on the field and we are in a quandary where to take him or her, or how he or she will get to whereever,” said Ricketts.

“Sometimes we get a number of complaints even from parents, clubs that we have not been able to provide a health care to facilitate part of healing process and to ensure that these players in the future are served,” said Ricketts.

“Thanks to all those health personnel over the years who have supported the JFF and our programmes, albeit sometimes under challenging circumstances,” he added.

Dr Guyan Arscott, chairman of the JFF medical committee, said it is fortuitous that the JFF can be a part of this national effort as it is about 13 national teams that are involved in football.

“One of the quandary that the president mentioned is that sometimes there is no confidence in what we can do if something should happen that requires more detailed medical examination, imaging and investigation. There is no institution right now that is better equipped to carry out that than the University Hospital of the West Indies,” Dr Arscott pointed out.

UHWI's medical chief of staff, Dr Carl Bruce, highlighted the importance of the MOU between the two organisations while noting the UHWI's long history in sports medicine before it became professional.

“We are very excited about the modernisation of the hospital and we are very proud that we at the university have the only four dimensional cardiac screening echocardiogram in the region,” Dr Bruce revealed.

Dr Bruce said it is clear that both the athletics governing body IAAF and football governors FIFA have taken mandatory steps for screening of athletes and that the JFF is heading in the right direction.