Former Baltimore Blast midfielder Waad Hirmez has filed a grievance against the team, contending he had a knee injury when the team released him Nov. 15 and that the Blast should be responsible for any future problems with the knee.
The grievance, filed through the Major Soccer League Players Association, requests that the Blast give Hirmez the results of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test that was performed on his knee before he was released.
A team official said yesterday that the Blast will hand over the test. "I will make every attempt to hand-deliver the MRI to Waad when St. Louis comes to town Sunday," said Drew Forrester, director of soccer operations.
Hirmez, who played five games for the Blast this season and is now playing for the St. Louis Storm, said yesterday that he believes the MRI test will support his injury claim.
"I don't want St. Louis to be responsible for the knee when the injury occurred in Baltimore," said Hirmez. "The doctors in Baltimore told me I had cartilage damage and advised me not to play in the next game. But the next day Kenny [Cooper, Blast coach] and Drew [Forrester] said I was fit to play."
John Kerr, director of the MSLPA, said last night it is important to clear up who is responsible for an injury since the players association has a clause in its contract with the MSL that says a team is responsible for injury protection benefits for a player if he is injured at the end of his contract with that team.
"If Waad isn't hurt as the Blast says, just give us the MRI and get it over with," said Kerr. "A lot of people might be wondering why we're going through with this since Waad has been with St. Louis for more than two months. But we have to have it on record to avoid another Ali Kazemaini [now with the Blast] case where Tacoma and Cleveland are fighting over who is responsible for an ankle injury he received in Tacoma before he went to Cleveland."
Forrester said last night: "This is the first I've heard of the union requesting the MRI be given to Waad. I went back through my papers today and couldn't find any previous documentation from the union requesting the MRI."
Forrester said the team is "absolutely certain we abided by all the rules and regulations regarding Waad's termination. I personally talked to the physician that examined him and he assures me that his examination and the MRI itself showed no structural damage to Waad's knee."