Footy player who lost his wife and baby son after breaking his neck during a match and leaving him partially paralysed is given just a $75,000 payout
- Jamie Anderson was a former best-and-fairest player in WA’s Wheatbelt
- He suffered a serious spinal injury in a 2015 match after a knee to the neck
- His relationship broke up, he was unable to work and has ongoing medical costs
- The AFL offered him only $75,000 under its player insurance policy
- AFL legend Mal Brown said the game urgently needed its own insurance scheme
A champion country footballer who suffered a serious spinal injury in a match had been offered just $75,000 in compensation by the AFL.
Jamie Anderson, 38, a former best-and-fairest player for Williams Football Club in Western Australia’s wheatbelt, was playing a match in 2015 when he heard a crack in his neck after contact with the knee of another player.
Knocked out and struggling to breath, Mr Anderson was airlifted to Royal Peth hospital where he spent three weeks in ICU and another 11 weeks in the spinal rehabilitation unit.
Jamie Anderson suffered ‘incomplete quadriplegia’ in the sporting accident and was offered a $75,000 insurance pay-out by the AFL despite ongoing physical and mental effects from the incident
Mr Anderson during his playing days. He’d won the best-and-fairest award playing for Williams Football Club in the West Australian wheatbelt
He was later diagnosed with incomplete quadriplegia at the C2/C3. The injury resulted in 40 percent impairment to his bodily functions, with restricted movement on his right side and a lack of strength and co-ordination.
Anderson also suffers from depression and anxiety, while his relationship also broke up and his former partner moved to Queensland with their young son.
‘It’s been very hard mentally… a lot of days in bed not wanting to face the world and feeling a bit lost in life,” Mr Anderson told The West Australian.
The merino sheep farmer could not work his farm and had to lease it out while he recovered. He estimates his ongoing medical costs at about $10,000 per year.
A follow-up operation related to the original injury recently caused him to have a stroke.
‘Sandra and I aren’t going to be here for the latter part of Jamie’s life and I’d hate to see this type of thing happen to somebody else where their family couldn’t help them,’ Anderson’s father Alex said.
In a 2019 letter to Mr Anderson, the AFL offered him a $75,000 pay-out, describing it as a ‘very reasonable’ goodwill gesture and more than they were required to offer.
The case had highlighted the inadequacy of insurance coverage for part-time country footballers, who are unable to do their day jobs after an accident.
The President of the club Mr Anderson played for, Justin Duff, believed Mr Anderson would have received $4million in compensation had he been involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Jamie Anderson with his parents Alex (left) and Sandra (middle), who worry about their son’s future
Former VFL and WAFL hardman, Mal Brown, told the paper the AFL needed to create its own insurance fund to cover footballers in the position of Anderson.
‘The game has an obligation to look after its people a lot better than it is rather than having to run around having chook raffles,’ he said.
‘If you’ve got something in place to help the person when they get badly injured, isn’t that better than taking them through the process to get them only $75,000?’
The AFL had not yet responded to a request for comment.