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NCAA insurance to pay expenses for player's spinal cord injuries

Maryland residents may be interested to learn that 12 percent of all spinal cord injuries are sports-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The average costs for treating spinal cord injuries ranges between $15,000 and $30,000 each year and can reach anywhere from $500,000 to well over $3 million over a lifetime for care and treatment of a spinal cord injury. The National Collegiate Athletic Association pays 100 percent of the premium for its Catastrophic Injury Insurance plan, which is good news for one college football player who was seriously injured earlier this month while playing in a game.

The catastrophic injury insurance policy was put in place in 1992 specifically to help student athletes and their families with the financial aspects of a catastrophic injury, such as a spinal cord injury. Both the short and long-term costs associated with the treatment and rehabilitation of a spinal cord injury can be devastating for both the injured and their family members. The NCAA does however, require that the member institutions themselves certify that student athletes are insured enough to cover the deductible of $90,000 before they are allowed to practice or play in a game.

Fortunately for the Tulane athlete, his school will cover that deductible, but that is not always the case. Division I schools are allowed to purchase additional health coverage for student athletes, but division II and III schools are not unless they provide those same benefits to the entire student population, according to the NCAA. The NCAA's policy for catastrophic injury carries a lifetime benefit of $20 million with allowances for up to $250,000 per year for home health care costs, including private nursing. The policy also covers rehabilitation and physical therapy.

The NCAA policy will also cover such expenses as home modifications and special equipment needed for transporting victims. The costs associated with not only treating spinal cord injury victims but also their daily living and care requirements can be astronomical. For families of loved ones not covered by catastrophic injury policies, such as divisions II and III players, or anyone injured in a car accident, for example, such an injury can force undue financial hardship on the family adding insult to injury.

That is why so many injury victims may find legal recourse in the form of a personal injury claim to recover expenses caused by injuries suffered through no fault of their own. If an insurance company is denying a claim it can be beneficial to consult with an attorney to learn your rights to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

Source: Tulsa World, "NCAA's Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program covers spinal injuries," John E. Hoover, Sept. 15, 2012

Our Rockville, Maryland, law firm handles a wide variety of personal injury cases, including catastrophic injuries similar to what was described in the above post.

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