Wife’s condition forces Bateman to leave Hurricanes

Hurricanes centre Tim Bateman has announced that he will leave New Zealand Rugby and return to Japan after signing with Coca Cola West Red Sparks.

Unusually Bateman is not leaving New Zealand Rugby for the normal financial reasons and is instead leaving so that he can get better care for his wife Laura who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.

The move will be Bateman’s second stint in the Fukuoka region and he says that he will move his wife and two young daughters Shyla and Mylie overseas in order to access the best possible medical treatment.

“To cut a long story short, my wife was diagnosed with MS last year and we had to make a decision based on the treatment that was not going to be available here in New Zealand for her,” Bateman told Stuff.

“We had opportunities to go to a number of places where the treatment was available, which was pretty much anywhere else other than New Zealand including South Africa, Australia, UK, America. She needed to show a level of deterioration before they would fund her for treatment here, whereas we could go away and get it just about anywhere.”

The former Crusaders back said that it was a difficult decision to leave New Zealand at first but in the end it became a “no brainer”.

“It’s been a long process and it hasn’t been nice seeing her struggling a little bit and not getting what she needs, so we made the decision to go,” he said.

“It was a tough decision. We had to juggle the fact we won’t have family support when we are away [in Japan], whereas here she gets that support when I’m gone. But what’s more important, treatment or help?

“Everything we read about MS is that treatment early is important, so we’ve decided to go with that.”

Bateman played for the Red Wings from 2010 to 2012 and he says that Japan offered several other benefits

“Literally 100 metres from where we lived the leading MS specialist in Japan is there and they’ve said to us she will be well looked after. They are understanding with the situation and flexible with my time.

“I have a heap more time there than I do here in terms of we don’t travel anywhere near as much. We have 14 games a season and six of those are away games and you are only away for one night.”

Bateman said that last year was particularly difficult but since Christmas his wife has been stable.

The Hurricanes back has had limited playing time this season after he injured his knee in the final training session before the first match, then a shoulder injury in his return match against the Crusaders in round six.

In 2014 Bateman has played a role of part coach and part player for the Wellington side.

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