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Ahead of WCQ, FIBA introduces new insurance for injured nationals

A new FIBA policy will assure that injury cases like that of Arth Dela Cruz will be dealt accordingly as the tough grind of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers begins. Mike Romero (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

PARAƑAQUE--Professional basketball teams now need not worry if their key players get hurt while doing national team duties.

FIBA announced on Saturday night its executive committee's approval of an insurance program that assures the clubs of compensations in case of major injuries that could hamper their players who get called up to their respective national teams.

In the program, FIBA will give the clubs benefits based on their salaries along with medical expenses for surgeries.

The said program is very timely as it was ratified ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, where national teams will play through designated international windows that will actually coincide with the professional league calendars of most nations.

Through the help of Arch Insurance Company Limited, FIBA put up a help desk for assistance to players, while national federations can now tweak their national team rosters in real-time with a user-friendly software.

"This is great news for players who are the most important people in basketball. This new scheme has been introduced in recognition of the amazing contribution they make to national team competitions which are the locomotive of basketball," said FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann. "It is a priority for FIBA to protect the players who give everything for the national teams and this scheme ensures they don't have to worry about the financial implications of an injury which keeps them out of the game. It also respects the interests of the clubs who release players for national team competitions."

Many national team athletes will benefit from this as the insurance program will be not just for the pros but also for the youth team programs, particularly the U17, U18, U19, and U20 teams, making high school and college teams beneficiaries of the new policy as well.

Currently, in the case of the Gilas Pilipinas program, the SBP shoulders the medical expenses of the players who get injured during a national team game or practices as per the case of Ginebra forward Arth Dela Cruz, who injured his Achilles tendon right in his very first practice with Gilas last March.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno