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Senate OKs Required Insurance for Student Athletes

Illinois high schools
could soon be required to buy health insurance for their athletes. State
senators passed a bill this week directing districts to carry the
insurance in case of a catastrophic injury.

High schools aren't
currently required to have an insurance plan for students who hurt
themselves while playing sports. The bill would require schools to
provide student athletes with $3 million in benefits or five years of
coverage--whichever comes first.

The insurance would only kick in if the injuries cost the athlete more than $50,000 in medical bills.

The requirement applies to both public and private high schools.

"It's
the right step when you talk about safety in regards to high school
sports and giving young men and women an opportunity to protect
themselves and their families," Sen. Napoleon Harris (D - Flossmoor)
said. "I think this measure is much-needed and look forward to a
favorable vote in the House."

The insurance would be used for any
injuries sustained during an IHSA-sanctioned event. The association
already provides insurance for catastrophic injuries at state
tournaments. No word on IHSA's position on the bill.

The bill's sponsors estimate the insurance would cost schools about $5 per student athlete.

The Senate voted 47-7 to pass the bill. It now heads to the House.