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.