High school athletes in Arizona will be covered by concussion insurance beginning this school year. The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced last week that they will be purchasing concussion insurance for every student athlete in its 99,000 student athletic body. The cost is $1.50 for every athlete. Athletes include players, cheerleaders, and student coaches. AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer is excited about the news he got to share with the AIA board and Arizona public high schools saying “It seemed like a deal that was too good to be true. It covers every need. No deductible and no out of pocket cost.”
Arizona has been leading the way with concussion research and treatment in recent years. Dr. Javier Cardenas is from the Barrow Neurological Institute and is a concussion expert in Phoenix Arizona. He jokes that “If you’re going to get a concussion, Arizona is the place to do it.” Gardenas who was instrumental in developing a football helmet that records and monitors head trauma is also responsible for insisting the state of Arizona mandate that every high school athlete undergo concussion education and pass a test before being allowed to participate in high school sports.
Symptoms of concussion include problems with attention span, memory, slowed mental processing, social withdrawal, and depression in injured athletes. Until recent years head trauma has largely gone diagnosed and untreated in high school athletes. Students would experience head trauma but would not seek treatment. Either because they did not realize the severity of their injuries or because they did not have medical insurance. The new insurance policy will ensure that student athletes who are injured will be properly treated for concussion and will be monitored until it is safe for them to resume participating in sports. The insurance policy was announced just in time for the 2016 football season which kicks off Thursday, August 18.
Arizona is the third state to purchase concussion insurance for their high school athletes. The Montana High School Association purchased concussion insurance for all its athletes and cheerleaders for the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year and the policy continues. The Michigan High School Athletic Association has been providing student athletes with concussion medical insurance since 1970.