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Illinois Schools Required to Carry Catastrophic Injury Insurance

When 4,500 former players successfully sued the NFL over concussion-related brain injuries, the case drew national attention to the dangers of blows to head suffered by pro football players. But what about the next generation? High school football players take those same bone-jarring hits, and yet they are not afforded the same level of financial protection as NFL players.

Even after a spate of catastrophic injuries on the field, Chicago Public Schools have not purchased the special insurance that would cover medical costs for these players. This special insurance would protect student athletes and their families from the astronomical costs of long-term medical care. Fortunately, the state of Illinois has mandated that all high school districts must carry catastrophic injury insurance starting in January.

According to state officials, the supplemental insurance will cover up to $3 million of medical bills for a period of five years if a player is injured during practice or a game. Known as Rocky’ Law for former Eisenhower High School Football running back Rasul “Rocky” Clark,” the insurance would only kick in after the family had paid the first $50,000 in bills. As imperfect as critics believe it to be, the law does at least set minimum standards that did not exist before.

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