STEVENS POINT, Wis. – Beginning next school year, every WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) athlete will be covered by concussion insurance.
The HeadStrong Concussion Insurance Program will provide the approximately 80,000 WIAA athletes in grades 6-12 with up to $25,000 of coverage per injury.
The plan costs $1.50 per athlete and covers any student participating in any practice or game sanctioned by the WIAA. For claims, a student’s insurance will be filled first and then the HeadStrong Insurance would serve as a secondary insurance that covers the cost of deductibles or co-pays.
The official start date of the policy is Aug. 1, the first day of the WIAA’s new fiscal year.
“The potential cost to a kid or a family should not be the reason that they don’t get the diagnosis, the care, the follow-up treatment that they should have if there is a concussion,” WIAA executive director Dave Anderson said. “This is good for kids.”
Wisconsin is the fourth state to cover its athletes with this type of insurance. It follows Michigan, Montana and Arizona.
The board approved the adoption of the concussion insurance during the same meeting it also approved an increase of regional tournament ticket prices from $4 to $5. Part of the additional proceeds from that increase will be used to cover the cost of the insurance, which is about $121,000 per year.
How many concussions the plan could cover is unclear. The WIAA doesn’t keep track of concussion totals.
Adding the plan, however, gives the WIAA another example of how it is trying to protect its athletes when it comes to concussions and could provide the organization another layer of protection should it be subject of a lawsuit.
“We have a long history of trying to do good things with and around head injury,” Anderson said. “We’re the first state that required a kid not to be able to return if they were suspected to be unconscious.
“And if we ever have to defend ourselves in one of those sort of concussion lawsuits, it may or may not make any difference, but we will be able to point to the fact that we’ve done a lot of things over a lot of years in a moral and conscientious sort of way to try to do things right.”