Massage compo to continue
A violinist injured in a car crash in 1987 will continue receiving taxpayer-funded massages.
The former first violinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra injured his neck and shoulder in a car crash after a concert in Goulburn over three decades ago, and has since relied on workplace insurer Comcare accepted for 973 massage treatments, 79 physiotherapy services, 150 posture retraining sessions and other medical treatments.
Comcare cut its support last year, saying it was no longer liable to pay. The decision was appealed in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, overturning Comcare's decision.
The tribunal found massage was a reasonable medical procedure.
The man has an abnormal extension deformity in his neck as a result of his occupation as a violinist, and was already suffering from abnormal stress before the accident because of the posture adopted by orchestra violinists while playing.
As a result, the tribunal heard the accident caused more damage to his weakened spinal tissues than it would have to an ordinary person.
Senior tribunal member Adria Poljak said massage is “medical treatment that is reasonable for the applicant to obtain in the circumstances”.
“Comcare is liable to pay compensation under section 16 of the act in relation to the applicant's claim for twice-weekly massage treatment,” she wrote.
“While I accept that massage is a passive treatment and that regular twice-weekly massage treatments over an extended period of time may be costly, I am convinced that the applicant's circumstances are unique.
“By all accounts, regular massage treatment enables the applicant to function normally on a daily basis. Given the applicant's age, the goal of treatment is not for the applicant to return to work, but to optimise his function and empower him to manage his injury.
“Having careful regard to the available evidence, I accept that regular massage treatment significantly improves the applicant's function and is the only treatment option available to the applicant which provides such a benefit.”