We proudly unveiled the ‘Return to Play initiative in collaboration with the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA). This innovative program aims to elevate the health and wellbeing of football players by introducing our collaborative Injury Management Platform known as ‘My Injury Recovery App (MiRA)’. 

Earlier this year, a pivotal meeting was held at VAFA’s headquarters in Elsternwick, where we agreed with VAFA’s executives and football operations management to run the MiRA ‘Return To Play’ program due to the escalating concern over the long term impact of concussions and post-traumatic brain injury cases among contact sports athletes, particularly Australian Football. This issue has prompted the Federal Parliament through the Senate Community Affairs References Committee to raise an inquiry to address this issue. 

Endorsed by VAFA, this initiative signifies our commitment to fostering a healthier and safer community for both clubs and athletes. The clubs involved in this transformative journey are: 

Because amateur clubs operate as independent entities, they bear the responsibility to perform their duty of care for the welfare of their players. With MiRA being used in this ‘Return To Play’ initiative, the management of incidents can now be delivered in a more standardised, integrated, seamless, and engaging manner, supporting improved recovery outcomes for VAFA athletes in the long run.  

The pilot program aims to promote a proactive and collaborative approach between all stakeholders involved in a player’s recovery journey. Key features of the MiRA platform include: 

  • Injury Reporting: A channel is created to report injuries and for athletes to raise their concerns and report the effects of their injuries, ensuring timely attention to their recovery needs. 
  • Progress Reporting: Athletes can report their recovery progress to physiotherapists, trainers, and coaches – allowing them to closely monitor athletes’ progress, facilitating a more effective recovery process. 
  • Comprehensive Recovery Approach: The MiRA app focuses not only on physical health but also on players’ overall wellbeing, promoting superior outcomes for players, supporting them to return to play faster and stronger. 

Furthermore, the pilot program will enable us to gather valuable feedback from the clubs and players, allowing us to fine-tune the MiRA platform to cater to their specific requirements effectively. 

Former Collingwood Premiership Captain Nick Maxwell noted the importance of this program by stating that “this initiative helps injury treatment and prevention from both a player and club perspective. It’s always hard for part time players to get the support they need to be in top shape and the VAFA’s desire to provide this support to both the player and club can only benefit everyone involved”. 

The ‘Return to Play Pilot Program’ has officially been launched, providing club representatives with a comprehensive understanding of the program’s objectives and the activities involved throughout the pilot period, which will run until the end of the 2023 season. Following the conclusion of the season, we look forward to rolling this program out to more VAFA club in the years to come. 

Jason Reddick, the CEO of the VAFA who was present at the Launch said, “We have been working closely with the Specialist Direct team since before the start of the 2023 season, so it’s a really exciting time to see this being rolled out to VAFA clubs and seeing the real impact this initiative could make to players recovery experience.” 

Afifa Loutfie, the Executive Director of Specialist Direct stated, “We firmly believe that through the ‘Return to Play Program’ and the ‘My Injury Recovery App (MiRA),’ we are paving the way for a new approach to injury management in sports and a new era in healthcare in general. This milestone represents our unwavering commitment to athlete’s wellbeing and safety, and we are thrilled to partner with VAFA and participating clubs on this exciting journey.”

Learn more about our Case and Claims Management approach: https://specialist.direct/case-claims-management/