Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill called "Rocky's Law" Sunday, which requires high schools to provide catastrophic accident insurance for student athletes.
measure, which will take effect January 1, is named after Rasul "Rocky"
Clark, a former Eisenhower High School student who was paralyzed from
the neck down in 2000 while playing in a football game. The $5 million
insurance policy held by the school district covered Clark's medical
expenses until it ran out in 2010. He died in 2012. Clark had led the fight for health insurance coverage for all student athletes.
Under the law,
Illinois high schools must provide catastrophic accident insurance that covers at least $3 million in aggregate benefits, or five years,
whichever occurs first, for students who sustain an accidental injury
while participating in Illinois High School Association athletic
programs that results in medical expenses of more than $50,000.
The coverage will cost schools about $5 for each student, according to state officials.
Illinois Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) and State Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) sponsored the bill, SB 2178.
injuries are rare, but when they happen it's devastating for young
athletes and their families," Harris, a former NFL football player, said in a statement. "These
students' lives are dramatically changed in cases of catastrophic
injuries, and they deserve access to health care coverage."