Heat danger for sports people
By Frank Enright
SYDNEY — Following the pre-season Tooheys Challenge competition, played in the heat of rural New South Wales, some Rugby League officials appeared contemptuous of concerns expressed by players. Not so Worksafe Australia, which has issued a warning to all professional sports people about playing in heat and high humidity.
"At least one sports person either dies or is severely injured from the effects of heat illness in Australia almost every year", says Worksafe chief executive, Dr Ted Emmett. He continued, "For professionals, additional commercial pressures from sponsors and employers add to the risk factors. The same rules should apply to Rugby League professionals as do they for other occupations."
Strenuous industrial work is less than half that of a professional Rugby League player. "Even under cool conditions ... players' heart rates are near maximum and their body temperatures normally approach dangerous levels", commented Emmett.
Another threat poised over the heads of professional sports people comes in the form of the Australian Taxation Office's plans to tax income from testimonial games. Dennis Cortez, from the Brisbane ATO, is drafting recommendations that will introduce the tax possibly as early as this year.
Rugby League union official Peter Moscatt, commenting in What's the Score, says, "It is our view that the proceeds from testimonials should be treated in the nature of gifts. In essence they involve a gift from the Australian public in thanks for the enjoyment a particular player had given.
"At the beginning most players get very little money. Their loyalties should be rewarded at the one club, and in absence of any decent retirement fund, sports testimonials should be tax free."