A new law will require high schools to foot the bill for student athletes if they are severely injured during a game. The measure, signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Sunday, requires schools to provide injured athletes with up to three-million-dollars-worth of insurance benefits or, five years worth of coverage, whichever comes first for injuries with medical expenses exceeding $50,000.
The measure was inspired by an athlete from Chicago who was paralyzed from the neck down after being tackled in a football game in 2000. His medical costs were covered by an insurance policy held by the school district, but when that hit its limit he relied on Medicaid, his mother and other donations to pay the remaining balance.
The extra insurance is expected to cost less than five dollars per athlete. Schools that already require athletes to have private insurance are exempt from the law. The new law takes affect next year.