Calling all athletes: here’s why you need medical cover

This is a call towards all athletic adults who take part in a team sport in their free time, enjoy exercising and choose sport as their weekend hobby. We aren’t appealing to professional athletes who have insured their legs for ridiculous amounts of money. We’re looking at you, the sporty types who enjoy being active. The ones who incorporate a sport or physical activity of some sort into their daily or weekly routines.

Our one question for you is: do you have medical aid? If not, why not? When you’re physically active on a regular basis and taking part in sports events that are strenuous on the mind and body, it’s important to have medical cover. You may have been lucky up until now or you know exactly what we mean when we say that accidents happen.

Whether you’ve been involved in your sport for years or are just starting out, here are all the reasons why you need to find a company with medical aid to support your fitness needs..

Common sport-related injuries


When you take part in sports, whether it’s marathons, soccer, cycling or dancing, you run the risk of a common sports-related injury. All of which will require medical attention by a specialist with a series of tests and treatments thereafter.

  • Sprains: When you overstretch the muscles and ligaments in a part of your body. After about three to six weeks of rest, your muscle should have recovered from a sprain.
  • Tears: Tears are sprains that have stretched too far, and that rip or tear the muscle or tendon in the body. Muscle tears can take up to six months of recovery depending on the tear and will require physiotherapy.
  • Dislocations: When a joint dislocates (commonly the knee or shoulder) it means that it’s been forced out of its socket. You will be required to immobilise the affected joint with a brace for a few days but it will take between two to three months to fully recover.  
  • Fractures: There are different types of fractures that are determined via an X-ray scan. Each fracture has their own recovery time periods, but a bone generally takes six to eight weeks to repair.
  • Breaks: A bone break is a step up from a fracture where the bone physically breaks into two (or more) pieces as a result of an impact injury. These usually take months of recovery time and months of rehabilitation once the injury has healed. You will need to re-establish proprioception for the injured areas and rebuild the muscles that were lost during your rest recovery period.

There are many ways for you to prevent these injuries from occurring, but the risk factor is always there and, again, accidents happen. If you’re wondering how the need for an affordable medical aid hospital plan comes into play, let’s take a closer look at what the recovery from these types of injuries require.  

A trip to the hospital


As soon as you undergo an injury, your first instinct is to go to the emergency room and find out how bad the damage is. That trip alone is going to cost you. And after you’ve waited patiently in pain to be seen by the doctor on call, you’re likely going to go for X-rays. X-rays could cost anywhere between R500 and R5000 depending on which hospital you go to and the number of X-rays that need to be performed.

Should you have a broken bone that requires surgery, then you’re looking at costs for a hospital bed (about R2000 per day), a surgeon and anesthetist (you could be charged around R40 per minute in theatre before the medical professional’s fee) and any administered medications during in-hospital recovery, amongst other equipment costs and hospital rates.

You would save yourself so much money by simply having a private hospital medical plan to cover the rates relating to your injury. As in-hospital is where most of the expenses will come from a sports-related injury, you could get away on a private hospital plan alone.  

Specialist appointments


Once you’ve left the hospital and start your months of recovery, you can look forward to regular checkups with your surgeon or specialist. These usually require follow up X-ray scans and are necessary to monitor your recovery and ensure no further surgery would be required. In addition to more X-ray costs, you would need to cover the medical professional’s medical aid rate appointment fee for every visit. Another thing which should be covered by your medical plan to save you money.  



And then we have physiotherapy which would start as soon as your bone has healed or your muscle has been injured. You might find that some hospital plans cover a certain number of physiotherapy appointments in relation to an in-hospital appointment (following a surgery, for example), but most medical aid plans would cover physiotherapy as part of the package.

You will likely be going for weekly appointments for the entire recovery period and possibly every now and then after recovery. Our bones and muscles will heal but they aren’t always the same as they were and, therefore, require more care and attention. Physiotherapy is necessary to help athletes be more aware of their body and help them adapt to their injuries in order to keep being physically active.