Franchitti Set to Return Next Season

"It's time for all athletes to realize how a serious injury can be a game-changer for their lives and incomes. Athletes should get expert guidance and protect their futures with individual disability insurance policies," says Frank N. Darras, disability lawyer to the pros.

October 24, 2013

Dario Franchitti, the race car driver involved in a serious accident at the Grand Prix of Houston on October 6, is set to return to racing next year. According to USA Today, Dario Franchitti underwent a second surgery on his right ankle recently and was released from Memorial-Hermann Texas Medical Center on October 10. (USAToday.com, Dario Franchitti has second surgery on his right ankle, October 14, 2013) Franchitti also suffered two broken vertebrae, a broken right ankle and a concussion in the crash that sent his car airborne and into a catchfence.

While the headlines surrounding Franchitti are now focused on his rekindled relationship with his estranged wife Ashley Judd (US Weekly.com, Ashley Judd 'going to give it another try' with estranged husband Dario Franchitti, October 20, 2013), there's a less-talked about issue still lingering: how will Franchitti protect himself should long-term or unseen permanent side effects keep him from racing ever again?

"His recovery is looking great right now. Everyone is reporting he will get back to racing next year and I hope that's true. I also hope that this accident is a wakeup call to his financial lifeline just as much as it was a wakeup call for his marriage. No one is invincible and for pro athletes, their window for making big money is very short. Franchitti is now 40 and in a different financial situation than a 20-year-old newbie. What would happen to a 20-year-old race car driver in their first season who suffers a crash like Franchitti's and isn't so lucky? Disability insurance must become a top priority for pro athletes," says Frank N. Darras, disability lawyer to the pros.

Pro athletes have a limited time to save enough money to support themselves and their family for a lifetime. It's true they have other lucrative options after playing pro sports, certainly more than the rest of us, but that money won't be nearly as much as they make during their time in pro sports. The younger they are, the more risk they face. A young first-time pro athlete could lose it all in one play or accident and that's certainly not enough money to last a lifetime.

A private own-occupation disability insurance policy will protect pro players, in their first season or last. It will pay them a monthly disability benefit if they are no longer able to perform the essential duties of their occupation. For a race car driver like Franchitti, this means no longer having the arm or leg movement to be able to drive a car at tip-top-speed.

"Whether a race car driver or a star NFL quarterback, an own-occupation disability policy protects the income that goes along with their lifestyle and current occupation. Players often don't know where to start with these policies and can get themselves into trouble. That's why it's a good idea to consult with an experienced top disability insurance lawyer who can navigate the fine print of these pro athlete disability contracts and forewarn of insurance loopholes," says Darras.