Andrew Coombs angry at Newport Gwent Dragons over insurance issue

Andrew Coombs
Andrew Coombs won the first of his 10 Wales caps against Ireland in the 2013 Six Nations

Retired Wales rugby player Andrew Coombs is "disgusted and devastated" his former region Newport Gwent Dragons have ended his insurance policy.

Coombs, 32, injured a knee in April 2015 and had to quit 14 months later.

He says he is left with "thousands of pounds of medical bills for treatment not available on the NHS".

Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies says the region gave Coombs "financial support over and above our contractual obligations" before his retirement.

Davies added: "Like most employers' medical insurance schemes, cover ordinarily ceases on termination of employment.

"In fact, Andrew remained covered at our expense for some months after his retirement. Andrew's cover under the policy came to an end as we moved towards self-funding the cost of treatment for players in our employment, due to the escalating costs of insurance."

Davies also said the Dragons offered Coombs "full and ongoing access to our medical staff and facilities" and that the offer "remains in place".

Davies' statement was in response to Coombs' post on social media.

The former second row wrote: "The policy was providing me with ongoing crucial medical treatment from the career-ending injury I sustained whilst playing for the region."

He went on to claim he was not given the chance to personally finance the policy despite "assurances from the region that this option would be available".

Welsh Rugby Players Association president Rhys Williams, the former Wales full-back who is now Cardiff Blues commercial director, said: "Player welfare is vitally important with the WRPA.

"We've held consultations with Andrew Coombs since his injury.

"We were aware of the situation before it went public yesterday. We'll continue to support him in all matters of player welfare."

Coombs' post prompted attention from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the legendary British Paralympian, who has been working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on welfare issues faced by sportspeople.

Tanni Grey-Thompson tweet