Football and Concussions — a modest proposal

Should colleges with football programs be required to provide athletes with long-term care (LTC) and long-term disability insurance in case they sustain permanent injury while playing for the school?

LTC policies exist but would have to be repriced for this type of insured.  This would require a fundamentally different type of disability policy than exists today as student athletes have no income per se.

There are several reasons why this approach makes sense:

(1)  Many athletes who go out for football are from less affluent families what cannot afford the financial burden from serious injury.  The athletes themselves have no resources that they can use to meet unexpected expenses or replace lost income.

(2)  The fact of signing for these policies may make players and their families aware of the seriousness of these risks.

(3)  Policy requirements may force schools to do serious physical screenings for incoming athletes.  We may find out about heart defects before players die on practice fields.

(4)  These policies may help to eliminate cases like the subject of my previous post — someone who gets lost in the system, and goes to an early death due to depression and drugs resulting from injury.

(5)  It fits with the philosophy of holding both individuals and institutions responsible for decisions they make.  Medicaid programs shouldn’t be on the hook for caring for injured athletes.  Right now, government is challenged to provide adequate care for veterans.  Those who create the risk need to bear responsibility for cleaning up the mess when it occurs.

The cost of these policies might force schools with unprofitable football programs to close their programs.  That’s certainly a possibility, but is that in fact a bad thing?

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