Sunday, May 17, 2015

All the power and suspense and glory has been over for months with the March Madness crap. I have been thinking of the way college sports is handled is just as corrupt and unfair to many as the NFL is. College coaches usually earn more money than the college presidents now and most of the college revenue comes in from the efforts of the college athletes. So the kids have to concentrate on an education and be available for every game during the season. They do not get paid for their efforts. Now I find out that the NCAA does not provide long term medical coverage for their athletes who get injured during a game. If a referee falls down and is hurt he gets workman comp. If the guy who sells peanuts falls down and gets hurt in the grandstand, he gets workman comp. All workers are covered except the people doing the most work and bringing in the most money for the college, the players with the highest risk of injury. They are not covered by any medical plan from the universities. Outrageous!

Some athletes are left in comas from injuries suffered during a college game. If they even wake up, they can be classified as learning disabled if they have still sustained a partial injury. They certainly can’t play football again and when they leave college cannot hold a job. The lesson to be learned here is that once you are done with college, college is pretty much done with you and your medical bills pile up being unpaid by anyone even if you went back to the college doctors for treatments. A 25 year old can be stuck with the injuries he sustained and stuck with the medical bills too.  A career ending injury is the start of poverty. The school will help while you are still a student but once you leave for any reason, you are not covered meanwhile you could be suffering from a life changing injury.

Even if you have medical insurance and now under Obama’s Affordable Care Act you have some form of medical insurance, the co-pay costs can bankrupt these already poor injured students. The NCAA always say they are protecting the students by keeping them as amateurs and not as paid employees who could be exploited by an overly aggressive athletic program but it turns out that by not being classified as an employee is perhaps the very thing that puts student athletes at risk because it deprives them a benefit that virtually every other worker is guaranteed by law called worker compensation that pays for all medical bills, including co-pay. In fact there are no co-pays or deductibles.  By not covering the athletes, it is saving the college a fortune.

An Indiana study last year found that college athletes will have chronic injuries by the age of 50 from their over the top workouts and college sports schedule. Are our kids just mules for our enjoyment? That is a rate twice that of non-athletes. A catastrophic injury that a kid can carry for the rest of their life should be tended with and should be compensated for or stop these contact sports altogether. I had a scholarship once to play football for Notre Dame in my youth. I am glad I did not walk on that field and take a chance with my long term health.

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