NRL players who suffer career-ending injuries will be eligible for payouts of up to $1 million under a newly-proposed temporary insurance scheme.
The planned policy, unanimously supported by the league and all 16 clubs, doubles the current amount of $500,000.
The payout will apply to the most serious injuries, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, loss of sight and the loss of the use of a limb which end a player’s career.
It will cover the top 25 contracted NRL players in each club, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The interim scheme is currently under consideration by players, and will operate through to March next year while a new whole-of-game policy is developed.
“Everyone in the game has been working together for some months to develop an insurance scheme which looks after the welfare of our players,” NRL chief executive Dave Smith said on Thursday.
“Obviously players will always be able to take their own insurance to protect their income in the event of a serious injury.
“But it is also important that the game has its own scheme and the players, clubs and NRL are working towards that.”
Smith said the league was also planning to set up a foundation to assist players who suffer catastrophic injuries.
South Sydney boss Shane Richardson backed the proposal on behalf the clubs.
“The clubs and the NRL recognise the importance of the improved insurance arrangements and support the proposal that was put to the Players Association for their members’ review,” he said.
The announcement follows last weekend’s Rise For Alex round, which raised more than $1.1 million for Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon.
McKinnon suffered a devastating spinal injury after a lifting tackle in the Knights’ round-three clash with Melbourne.