For the love of the game

Jo McIntosh – Product Communications Consultant, Royal London

I love netball. I would even go as far as to say it’s my life (well, second to my family of course!).

However I have never really thought about the dangers associated with playing a fun but competitive sport like this before – until now. I play 3 times a week, and particularly enjoy the social as well as the strategic aspects of playing the game.

Recently however there has been a myriad of injuries from what is, for all intents and purposes, a non-contact sport. One lady recently twisted her knee when she fell awkwardly when trying to defend the ball. That effort resulted in her having to undergo knee surgery for ligament damage and will be out of action for at least 2 years. This is bad enough, but with a full time job and 2 small children to look after, it must be a real worry and frustration. Another couple of ladies in recent weeks have twisted ankles, torn tendons and even lost teeth! And yet we still continue to play this sport which we love so much!

Now, I have staved my finger a number of times over the years, but one Thursday night recently, I went in for an amazing interception of the ball. This move went horribly wrong when the ball struck the tips of my right hand fingers with force. The pain was immense, and I knew almost immediately that this was more than a staved finger. The hospital x-ray did indeed confirm a fracture. I was gutted: no netball for at least a month, but more to the point, with it being my right hand it meant that I was restricted on what everyday tasks I could do. Even basic things like opening a tin of soup, chopping vegetables, tying my daughter’s shoelaces were impossible tasks. I do however realise that I am lucky it’s just a broken finger I have to contend with, and furthermore I am fortunate that I have a desk based job, which means that I can still continue to work as normal (albeit using my 4th finger and thumb makes my typing considerably slower!).

Nonetheless, it has made me re-evaluate my financial circumstances: what if I had broken a more significant bone in my body which meant that I was unable to get into work each day? Or what if I was working in a manual occupation which required full use of both hands to successfully do my job?

Only at this point have I considered the importance of having Income Protection in place. Clearly a number of employers will pay for a short period of sickness, but what happens after that? I certainly couldn’t afford to be off work. For me it’s now a no-brainer – and I almost can’t believe I have waited so long to protect my income.

Make sure your clients aren’t like me or my friend with the knee injury. Have that conversation earlier – after all, each year almost a million people in the UK suffer an injury or a serious illness which means they are unable to work for a month or longer.*

And remember, through Royal London’s Income Protection product, fracture cover and hospitalisation payment is automatically included at no extra charge. There’s no need for your clients to wait for their chosen deferred period to end before getting a pay-out and it doesn’t affect their main Income Protection cover.

*Source: Department for Work and Pensions, February 2014

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