NCAA: Health Insurance for Student-Athletes–Who Pays When Injuries Occur?

NCAA: Health Insurance for Student-Athletes–Who Pays When Injuries Occur?

It is unfortunate, but when serious injuries happen (requiring hospitalization), one has to think about the cost of the medical care. The expenses quickly stack up, reaching levels that people cannot pay. A Louisville basketball player, Kevin Ware, suffered a terrible injury that was witnessed by many. The injury required surgery, and perhaps some level of rehabilitation. Other student athletes also suffer injuries while participating in college sports, though those injuries likely are not on a widely watched televised competition.

My expectation was that the colleges that these athletes play for would pay for any injuries that occur during the athlete’s participation in the athletic program. David Sirota’s article states that this expectation is often incorrect and that players often are expected to pay the medical bills.

Will Ware have to pay? His injury was too public, so such a cost shift would be unjust. But, according to a 2009 article in the New York Times, other NCAA athletes have had to pay tremendous amounts of medical expenses as a result of their participation in collegiate athletics. A 2012 article in the Birmingham News, seems to indicate that the burden of medical bills falls on the player.