A Playbook for “What If…”
If anyone knows the value of proper healthcare, it would be a college football player. Good health is never far from his mind, be it staying in top physical condition for the rigors of training or knowing what to do in the event of an injury.
And really, we can relate to that. Anyone who works for a large company depends on a Workers Comp policy to cover them in the event of a worksite accident. However, things work a little differently for college football players.
Though the NCAA requires all players to have health coverage, college scholarships for athletes are often given on a yearly basis, allowing schools to discontinue those who either aren’t healthy enough or don’t have good enough grades to continue the sports program. This creates an unintentional loophole. Colleges are only required to provide health insurance to athletes who have a scholarship, leaving those non-renewed not only without coverage, but without a means to pay their tuition as well.
Health insurance is something we take for granted every day, but to a college ball player, it’s a constant concern. Every game, every practice, every play puts the player in jeopardy of a possible career ending injury. “What expenses will my policy cover? What portion of the medical bills will the school reimburse?”
So many questions.
Concussions are also a growing concern in football injuries. Because concussion victims don’t always display immediate symptoms, serious problems quite frequently go unnoticed until complications crop up later. It’s made even more serious by the fact that out of 27 potential cases of concussion, only one is reported.
Why risk playing through a potential concussion? One theory is that football has fostered a culture of “toughness”, and playing through pain and injury is considered a badge of honor. However, some speculate that the fear of losing everything gained may come into play as well.
Though there are still dangers of head trauma associated with football at all levels, great strides have been made in the field of sports medicine and equpment R&D, reducing the likelihood of injury and unecessary risk, mostly due to increased media coverage and parental concern. None of this would be possible without proper health coverage.
However, the question of “who will pay for the medical coverage should anything go wrong” is still often up in the air for many athletes, especially those who depend on their ability to play the game as their livelihood and/or means of paying their tuition.
Just like our athletes in question, don’t wait until it’s too late to ask about your insurance options. Accidents and injuries seem like such far off concepts until they happen. And believe me, after a brief stay at the hospital, nothing feels as good as hearing the words “your bill has been paid.”
First Baldwin Insurance