The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Catastrophic accident insurance required for IHSA athletes

After a new law passed mandating every Illinois High School Association (IHSA) athletes receive catastrophic accident insurance, all District 225 students are now covered by catastrophic insurance, according to Principal Dr. Brian Wegley.

Wegley said the district chose to cover the entire student body to prevent errors in identifying IHSA athletes and because it is relatively inexpensive to insure all students.

The coverage will also protect students who receive catastrophic injuries in non-athletic activities, according to Hilarie Siena, assistant superintendent of business for District 225.

“The district had to make a decision whether it was going to insure only those [athletic sports] that were sanctioned by the IHSA,” Siena said. “Because that’s very difficult to determine – for example, dance is sanctioned, but drama is not. So what if we had an injury, say during the V-Show? It would be very difficult to insure one student and not the other, so the Board of Education approved to purchase this insurance on all of our students.”

According to Siena, the cost to cover IHSA athletes was $8,044, while the cost to cover all 4,875 students was $10,725.

The district’s coverage will apply to any student participating in or traveling to events or activities sponsored by the school, but will not cover pre-existing conditions or accidents that occur outside of a school context, according to Michael Riggle, District 225 superintendent.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the law was inspired by Rocky Clark, a running back from Eisenhower High School who became paralyzed in a football game in 2000. Clark’s family lacked the insurance to cover his resulting medical expenses, and after his death they fought to ensure that other families would never have to experience the same worry.

Laura Fine, seventeenth district Illinois representative, said she supported the bill in the House and appreciates the insurance as a parent of two gymnasts a sport with a high risk of injury.

Anna Nowak, mother of Calie Nowak, attack on the varsity girls lacrosse team, felt mixed feelings about South’s coverage.

“On the one side, I am grateful to [South] to go above and beyond to purchase that on behalf of all students; on the other hand, it concerns me…because I think it reminds me how dangerous the sport is,” Anna said.

Anna said girls lacrosse has a high likelihood of concussions due to rough play and a lack of requirements for players to wear protective gear. Yet according to the IHSA website, lacrosse is not an IHSA-sanctioned sport, and Calie would not have been considered for coverage under the law.

“It’s hopefully something that will never have to be used,” Fine said.


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