Big Contracts for MLB Athletes Means Disability Insurance Policies are a Must
Disability insurance for major league baseball players is a must, due to the high risk of injury resulting in the end of a profitable career. With home plate collisions, rotator cuff tears and knee injuries, baseball players can be injured just like in any other sport. Kirby Puckett, a centerfielder for the Minnesota Twins, was hit by a fastball in 1995, resulting in a broken jaw. He was later diagnosed with glaucoma in 1996 but three surgeries failed to repair his vision, which meant the end of a 12-year career.(Bleacher Report, Minnesota Twins: The Most Important Day In Twins History, October 26, 2010)
Due to the competitive nature of major league sports, there is a higher chance of being disabled with a corresponding significant loss of income. Injuries requiring a disability insurance policy don’t necessarily even happen on the field. According to Sports Illustrated, Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees “suffered an open dislocation of his right ankle while playing with his 5-year-old son on a trampoline,” (Baseball’s Most Bizarre Injuries: Sports Illustrated, January 17, 2014).
“Coverage for a major league player will have to supplement their current lifestyle if a debilitating injury should occur, which could mean millions of dollars with a high limit disability insurance policy,” commented Frank N. Darras, America’s Lawyer to the Pros. “To protect their income, most professional athletes add own-occupation protection to their disability insurance policies.”
The definition of own-occupation is very flexible and allows athletes (with the assistance of a top insurance lawyer) to select a policy so they may receive full benefits even if they can find another career such as a sports broadcaster or coach. “An individual insurance policy that covers athletes who become disabled and are unable to perform the important occupational duties that they have been trained to perform, is key. This type of insurance policy is contingent on the individual being employed at the time the disability occurs,” (Own-Occupation Policy Definition: Investopedia, January 17, 2014).
Dave Dravecky is an example of a star athlete who would have benefited from an own-occupation protection policy. He was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and had a cancerous tumor removed from his pitching arm in 1988. Once he was back on the field, he broke his humerus bone while throwing a sixth inning pitch in a game against the Expos. Sadly, his cancer eventually returned and his arm had to be amputated, yet he was able to become a motivational speaker. Under an own-occupation disability protection policy, Dravecky would have still recovered his full disability benefits even though he worked as a motivational speaker. (Life Health Pro, 10 athletes we hope had disability insurance, July 25, 2012)
“With spring training fast approaching, baseball players should update their policies or talk to their agent about signing up,” advises Darras. “The potential for serious injury is high, even though physical contact isn’t the typical cause like in hockey or football. Pro athletes should make it a top priority to consult with a disability insurance lawyer who can help them create a policy that meets their best interests.”