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FRANK DARRAS DISCUSSES DISABILITY INSURANCE FOR PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES

Football players are getting bigger and quicker, wisely observed radio show host Gary Poszik of Health, Wealth and Wellness on WGCV.net. The rules of the game are changing as are the way injuries are diagnosed and treated. Frank Darras noted that back in the 70s smelling salts were the cure for head injuries – a time when head-to-head or helmet-to-helmet contact was common in football – but players had to walk to the sidelines to get them.

A lot has changed since then. Rules are changing to improve player safety, but long term disability coverage for those who are injured trying to make the practice squad, trying to make the team or during the actual play, is lagging. Players themselves, in college or in the pros should consider whether they have the proper long term disability coverage to replace income lost by a career-ending injury.

Recently, a settlement was proposed in the NFL concussion lawsuit involving more than 4,500 past football players. The settlement includes coverage medical care, treatment and prevention for head injuries sustained by NFL players as well as compensation for individual players.

The fact that the settlement is forward-looking – it provides coverage for future medical care – should alert players that the problem of life-changing, career-ending concussions and head injuries has not been solved. Instead of relying on improvements to game safety or League-provided care or prevention, players should consider arming themselves with appropriate long term disability insurance.

In the NFL, known to many as the “Not For Long” League, many athletes are lucky to make it five years. Unless you were one of the lucky ones to secure a large signing bonus or lucrative contract deal, you may not have enough time to build up the financial reserves needed when an injury turns into a long term disability. The time to consider disability insurance is now, before you actually need it.

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