HIC to assist athletes
Jamaican athletes are set to benefit from a $10-million commitment over four years from the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC), in the area of cardiovascular (heart) testing, before they go to track meets.
Speaking at a press briefing, held on Tuesday at the Balmoral Avenue offices of HIC in St Andrew, where the initiative was officially launched, chief executive officer at HIC, Professor Ernest Madu, reported that 66 of the 84 athletes that will be leaving the island today for the Carifta Games in Martinique have already been screened under the programme.
"In short order, we will complete that screening, and our athletes will be better prepared for the meet," Professor Madu said. He also announced that a "special" rate will be in place for sport officials, especially coaches, to access their services.
Welcoming what he called a partnership between HIC and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), president, Dr Warren Blake, described it as one that is most significant. He said that from now onward, all athletes will be tested.
"This is a really remarkable offer; we want all teams leaving Jamaica to be able to identify potential risk factors among the athletes," the JAAA president said.
Meanwhile, Minister with responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, said the Government is committed to the insurance plan for Jamaican athletes.
ability to pay fee
She said the plan will ensure that all sportspersons at a certain standard can be recommended by their associations to receive coverage.
"The health of our athletes should never be determined by his or her ability to pay fees, to pay for treatment, or prescriptions necessary to attain or maintain good health," the minister emphasised.
Commending HIC for the free screening of athletes, the minister noted that such an initiative undertaken by a qualified entity will help to protect the athletes.
"We know that most conditions can and will be identified. This will be an important step in protecting the health of our young sportsmen and sportswomen," the minister said.