Amateur players gambling with their futures
ESPN Staff
December 5, 2013
Duncan Bell takes the plaudits after his final game for Bath ... but he was to find the world of amateur rugby as hard © Getty Images

Former England prop Duncan Bell has told the Gloucester Citizen that amateur rugby players need to get insurance in case they get hurt on the pitch.

A vast majority of club players have no insurance, so if they get seriously injured and are unable to work they are too often left high and dry. The newspaper cited the example of a local uninsured player who dislocated his shoulder last weekend and so is unable to carry on his work as a self-employed plumber.

Bell, who played top-flight rugby for 18 years now and now runs Lydney, said that in his first season after retiring as a professional he broke an eye socket and was unable to work for three months. "Luckily I had protection and could continue to pay my mortgage and look after my family," he told the newspaper. "My father urged me to see a financial adviser as soon as I started earning a wage. And I'm glad he did.

"I cannot understand why anyone would play contact sport week in week out without protection and insurance," Bell told the newspaper. "Most of these players play it for the love of the sport and I would say 50% of my squad are self-employed.

"If you break your leg or dislocate your shoulder, you can't drive. You cannot work. It is not a lot of money to insure yourselves. Everyone thinks, 'It won't happen to me'. Insurance is the biggest waste of money in the world, until you need it. Then it is worth its weight in gold.

"I took it for granted when I was a professional, as it was in my contract. But as soon as I started playing amateur rugby, I made sure I was covered. Rugby players need cover and protection, especially if they've got kids, and a mortgage to pay."

But a sign of the difficulty of getting his point across was brought home to Bell when he texted all his club's players after last weekend to highlight the need for insurance. Only two players responded.

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