Ulster GAA deal with 3fivetwo Group to benefit injured stars
Ulster GAA has just broken new ground by linking up with healthcare provider 3fivetwo Group to formulate a concept from which 90,000 players and 250,000 Association members across the province will benefit.
While this is the first time the governing body of a major sport in the province has entered into a formal agreement with a healthcare company, it does not mean that this will be an exclusive arrangement.
While 3fivetwo will offer important medical facilities such as casualty, scans, physiotherapy, surgery and dental procedures, players and members will still be able to avail of services currently on offer in this respect at the private Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast.
"This is a very good agreement," maintains Danny Murphy, Ulster GAA CEO.
"Our medical costs are significant and this partnership gives players the best possible healthcare package and of course has the added bonus of supporting a local business.
"On a practical basis, it means an injured player can click on www.gaahealthhub.com for the options available to them or go straight to casualty at Kingsbridge for diagnosis by a top specialist, speedily followed up by whatever treatment or surgery is required.
"This is not an exclusive deal - clubs and counties can still go to whoever they wish - however, this is a competitive option with fixed costs for all procedures from a local company which supports the GAA with an exclusive reduction on their services list, sponsorship for Ulster GAA's health and Players Academy programmes, and a set-rate first aid and defibrillation courses."
The GAA as a whole is placing more emphasis than ever before on the physical and mental well-being of its playing membership in particular and while this is the latest initiative to be rolled out, it is likely that others will follow.
Ulster GAA Head of Public Affairs Ryan Feeney stresses that the province's biggest sporting body will continue to monitor the health and well-being of its players and members.
"We are constantly striving to be the best that we can in this area because we feel it is so important. We certainly have no intention of resting on our laurels," adds Feeney.