Dragons hit back at Coombs allegations

Date published: December 21 2016

The Dragons have released a statement in respect of comments made on Twitter by their former player Andrew Coombs.

On Monday, Coombs who was injured while playing for the Dragons, criticised the Dragons via a tweet after his medical aid was cancelled without giving him the option to take the costs up himself.

In reaction, Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies commented as follows: “We were disappointed that Andrew Coombs feels aggrieved that he no longer has the benefit of medical insurance after the termination of his employment.

“Ordinarily we would not refer to individual player’s cases, but given the publicity this issue has attracted and how it was triggered, we consider it appropriate to do so on this occasion.

“The private medical insurance policy to which Andrew refers was our Group medical insurance policy taken out to cover the costs of medical treatment for players while they are employed at the Region. Like most employers’ medical insurance schemes, cover ordinarily ceases on termination of employment. In fact, Andrew remained covered at our expense for some months after his retirement.  Andrew’s cover under the policy came to an end as we moved towards self-funding the cost of treatment for players in our employment, due to the escalating costs of insurance. Consequently, we no longer have medical treatment insurance in place since the money spent on the policy would probably outweigh the cumulative costs of treatment. However, our players still receive the same high level of medical care, but this will be funded directly by the Region going forward.

“No assurances were given to Andrew about a transfer of his medical insurance either prior to or after his retirement. However, I would point out that significant financial support over and above our contractual obligations was extended to Andrew before he left our employment, in deference to his standing within and long service at the Region. Like all professional rugby organisations, we also fund the cost of premiums to provide financial support for players who suffer a career ending injury, to ensure our players are looked after financially in the immediate aftermath of retirement in such circumstances.

“In addition, we extended to Andrew at the time he retired, the offer of full and ongoing access to our medical staff and facilities in respect of his continued rehabilitation. This offer remains in place and we will continue to offer whatever support can reasonably be provided.

“We feel that we have acted both professionally and reasonably in our dealings with Andrew, in terms of providing him with every opportunity to return to the team before he retired, and in relation to our ongoing offer of support after his retirement.”