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Ex-Tiger welcomes new AFLPA injury fund

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It's support you don't realise you'll need until you might be five, 10, 15 years out of the game
Kelvin Moore

WITH a double hip replacement on his horizon, ex-Richmond defender Kelvin Moore is the perfect example of someone who'll benefit directly from the new AFL Players' Injury and Hardship Fund. 

Announced by the AFLPA on Tuesday after it was successfully negotiated in last year's collective bargaining agreement, up to 200 players a year are expected to benefit from the new scheme. 

Moore is one of them, after the 33-year-old was forced out of the game in 2012 at the age of 28 after nine hip operations. 

The 87-game Tiger retired a day after his surgeon told him his last surgery – a periacetabular osteotomy, where his hip socket was cut out, reshaped and rotated, and then fastened with 18cm-long screws – had failed. 

And, this came after he endured a month of being bed-ridden following his operation, a long rehabilitation where he had to virtually learn to walk again, a season and a half out of the game, and a close encounter with pain medication dependency. 

Still, the likeable backman says he'd do it all again if he had the chance, even though he still suffers pain on a daily basis.

"You'd just do it, you just love playing AFL," Moore said. 

"But having said that, it's great they've put this structure in place so if you do need ongoing support, it's there for you.

"It's support you don't realise you'll need until you might be five, 10, 15 years out of the game."

The fund will cover those who played at least one game in either the VFL (before it became the AFL), and today's AFL, who need assistance to fix their old complaints. 

It's worth $24.7 million, which has been raised by the direction of $4 million per year from the players' share of industry revenue. 

Ex-players can apply for grants of up to $8000 to cover treatment for joint and dental injuries, and up to $6000 if they're not privately insured.

It will also support players who are suffering from hardship, income relief for delisted players who can't work because of their football injuries, and hospital excess reimbursements. 

Additionally, it will cover a broader range of situations where players have been forced into retirement because of injuries, including concussion, and feature an improved payout system. 

AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said players needed to know there was assistance available to ensure their lives continued smoothly after retirement. 

"The message is, if you need help, come to us because this is a really important scheme," Marsh said. 

"They've earned the right to access this from the industry.

"This is a high-risk industry, players are coming out with issues that are spanning the rest of their lives.

"Their careers are very short-term and very precarious, so hopefully this will give a bit more understanding to some of the issues the players go through."

Trent Cotchin, Moore and Brett Deledio celebrate a Tiger win in 2008. Picture: AFL Photos

For Moore, on some days the simple task of putting on his shoes causes an issue. 

His flexibility has been hampered so much, he's had to pick up his son Lenny by crouching down and pushing off the couch once he's got the 18-month-old safely in his arms. 

Lenny has since learned to climb onto the couch so his dad easily can scoop him up, but Moore is set for another challenge in two months when he and wife Kelly welcome their second child into the world. 

Moore says he'll wait as long as possible to get both his hips fixed, as a standard replacement only lasts between 10-15 years and can only be done an additional time once. 

But, he's thrilled to know both him and his former contemporaries will be looked after as the AFLPA attempts to ensure no player leaves the game in a poorer condition they arrived in. 

"I'm not complaining about my hips. There's a lot of people who are worse off in the world than me, and I'm very grateful I got the chance to play AFL," he said. 

"But the situation I'm in now … there's no shying away from the state of my hips. You get by from day to day, but if you bring it back to the support from the AFLPA and the new fund, I'm not about to run out and get a hip replacement, but in 10 years' time, I'll be able to."

Trent Cotchin celebrates the Tigers' flag with Moore and Jake King. Picture: AFL Photos