As the beginning of the school year draws closer, millions of high school and college athletes are heading to school fields, tracks, and pools a few weeks early to spend hot summer days at practice, training to be the best at their chosen sport.
While being involved in sports or other competitive activities is beneficial for building positive qualities in young adults —discipline, drive, teamwork, to name a few— it also comes with risks.
As parents, we hate to think about our child being injured in a sport, but it is a reality we must face at every game. It is inevitable that some athletes will be injured playing sports. You can’t control or predict when an injury will occur, which is exactly why you should always be prepared for it.
According to the latest statistics from Safe Kids USA:
- Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries
- 62% of organized sports-related injuries happen during practice rather than during games
- Collision and contact sports, like football and rugby, have higher injury rates, but injuries from individual sports, such as gymnastics and swimming, are usually more severe
Of course, the very first question a parent asks in these heart-racing situations is: Is my child ok? Providing the best possible medical evaluation and treatment is the most reliable way to find an answer, and (hopefully) get them back out on the field in no time.
Shortly following the first question, there often comes a second: Who pays the bills?
Generally, if you have health and medical insurance, the care and treatment of your child will be covered under your policy after you pay the deductible. In cases of minor sports injuries, like a sprain or swelling, this process is fairly straightforward.
But if a child’s injuries are more severe, like a brain injury, your policy may not cover all of the medical costs and parents may struggle to pay treatment bills on time.
Parents in this predicament may be able to receive financial help from the school or organization’s insurance, too. However, not all programs carry insurance, and if you signed a release waiver prior to your child joining the team, then financial responsibility for the treatment of an injury rests on your insurance coverage.
An exception to this policy is when a school or organization is charged with negligence for not having the proper safety equipment or pushing a player too hard, resulting in their injury or death. In these situations, filing a lawsuit may be appropriate.
If your child is playing sports or competing in a hobby this year, ask your insurance agent if your policy covers that specific activity, and if so, how much. Also, inquire about the school or organization’s policy on athlete injuries, and make sure your child has the proper safety gear.
Lastly, if your child or teen has already been injured playing a sport and you believe the school or organization was negligent in protecting them from harm, contact a Tennessee personal injury attorney immediately to discuss your case.