ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A new law, called Rocky’s Law, aims to help student athletes who suffer major injuries during school events.
It’s no secret football is a contact sport and with contact, can come injury. To protect students who are seriously injured, public and private schools in the state of Illinois will be required to provide catastrophic insurance for highschoolers who are injured in a school athletic event.
Districts have to provide at least $3 million dollars in coverage or five years’ worth whichever comes first. School insurance kicks in once family medical expenses increase to more than $50,000.
“In a school where we’ve got such a high poverty rate, I think it’s critical that we provide support to those families that simply can’t afford the type of coverage that’s needed for in case you have a catastrophic accident,” said Auburn Head Football Coach Dan Appino.
District 205 already offers the insurance to the tune of $5 million dollars and while athletic director Matt Parker says he hasn’t seen a student use it in the two years he’s been there, he says it’s a safety measure.
“Hopefully we’ll never have to deal with this but if we do, we have this insurance in place to help and assist the families and the student,” Parker said.
Students say they’re thankful because they know the risk.
“Anything can happen, any sport, basketball, track, so that’s definitely a good benefit for our team,” Auburn Senior Football Player, Cleveland Redd said.
Many local school districts already provide catastrophic insurance, however some will have to get it. Rockford Christian is in the process now. Polo Schools still need to develop a plan. The Superintendent says the board will meet at the end of this month. He says any time there’s a mandate, the districts get less state aid and it’s a struggle.
The new law takes effect January 1st. The schools that provide insurance to all students cover more than athletic events. For example, if a student fell off the jungle gym and was severely injured, that would be covered.