Minnesota School Athletics to Mirror Wisconsin Offering Concussion Insurance

July 27, 2017 08:35 PM

Minnesota State High School League has approved concussion insurance for student athletes starting this fall.

The plan will mirror a program about to kick off to protect kids playing school sports in Wisconsin.

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MSHSL Board of Directors authorized the plan at a meeting in Brooklyn Center that would pay $1.50 per student-athlete to purchase Head’s Up concussion insurance, according to published meeting minutes.

The plan will cover athletes in grades 7-12, and is expected to cost the association $145,000 to cover the athletes.

Minnesota joins Wisconsin, Montana, Arizona and Michigan athletic associations to offer students free concussion insurance when injured playing school sports.

More specific details are expected towards the start of the school sport's season.

Wisconsin’s New Concussion Plan

"We felt it was the right thing to do for young people right now in this day in age, with all the awareness of concussions," Dave Anderson, executive director of Wisconsin's Interscholastic Athletic Association, said.

Wisconsin’s plan will be put in place in August. The program will cover more than 80,000 students athletes in grades 6-12 with up to $25,000 in concussion insurance.

Wisconsin student athletes will have a zero deductive and no co-pay coverage if the injury is suffered in practice or a game.

Even if the family has insurance, the program can cover out-of-pocket costs not picked up by their primary carrier.

"An ounce of comfort, as well as real medical help,” Anderson said. “I think it's a terrific investment.”

The WIAA paid for the plan – which cost around $125,000 total — with a raise in ticket prices at the state athletic tournaments.

Concussion Experts Advise For Parents

"Creating that dialogue and educating your child so they know what to look for that will give them better outcomes for their health," Dr. Chris Nowinski, co-director of the  Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston, said.

Nowinski was a professional wrestler after playing football at Harvard University.

He said he suffers today from old concussions.

Nowinski, a nationally recognized concussion expert, suggests parents talk to their child before they take the field to remind them it’s crucial to share any blow, bump, or jolt to the head.


"They need to be honest, because if they lie about their symptoms, it could end their career," Nowinski said. "They could get post-concussion syndrome like I did, and they don't want that."

At Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul, staff say around 70 percent of their visits to the concussion clinic come from sports related injuries.

"Along with making sure kids are wearing good equipment and wearing it properly, it's important to also stress to student-athletes their personal responsibility in injury prevention,” said Robert Doss, co-director of the Pediatric Concussion Program at Children's Minnesota, said. “We see many injuries that are the result of horsing around in the locker room or at practice. In addition, making sure you are playing safely and avoiding big hits or contact when an opponent is in a vulnerable position is also very important."

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Eric Chaloux

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