Sport ministry signs MOU with Zion Care International
Minister Olivia Grange says that the Ministry of Sport’s partnership with Zion Care International will help to expand the knowledge and capacity base of sports medicine specialists in Jamaica, as well as to provide first-class healthcare to the nation’s athletes.
Grange was speaking at a signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two parties at the ministry’s headquarters yesterday. The MOU will not only offer support to injured athletes, but also provide technology and training for local sports medicine practitioners with a collaboration with Montefiore Hospital in the United States, as well as the Jamaica Medical Foundation (JMF).
Grange says that while the Athletes Insurance Plan offers coverage for athletes for their medical care, the partnership will help to further assist with expenses for treatment.
“There are other athletes who at times need assistance and it can be quite costly,” Grange told The Gleaner. “So this MOU will open up doors for us to be able to get support from the JMF, which is the Zion Care’s Organisation focal point here.
“We are looking at building capacity, we are looking at preventative medicine in relation to sport. We are looking at endurance as it relates to our athletes. We are looking at a broad spectrum.”
That spectrum, according to Zion Care International chairman, the Rev Dr Craig Brown, also includes support from Montefiore Hospital and the overseas training through the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which he hopes will help to increase the number of qualified personnel at home and allow more local options.
“Montefiore Hospital has one of the best sports medicine (facilities) in the United States and, therefore, can not only good give advice in terms of treatment of certain injuries but also they are quite prepared to provide equipment and to send technical staff to train the staff here (in Jamaica),” Brown said. “It is a great opportunity for Jamaica to improve on what we have been lacking in some respect in terms of having proper people here with the latest technological treatments for the ailments that athletes go through here. Not all our athletes are at the stature of a Usain Bolt that can get on a plane and fly to Miami to see a specialist. So it would be good to have that sort of capacity here because a bad injury can spoil your entire career.”
Grange said that the medical support will also involve para-athletes which, she says, will be of great benefit in their rehabilitation as well as training.
“Part of the process [will be] to help you to cope and to maximise your potential despite your disability, and certainly it will also explore to the extent where you don’t have to be permanently disabled. Once there is hope, they are going to explore it to the maximum,” Grange said.