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Disability and Professional Athletes: DarrasLaw Expert Weighs in on Major League Injuries, Sports and Disability

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart broke his right leg Monday night while competing in a sprint-car race in Iowa. He’ll be forced to miss the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next Sunday and a shot to win his fourth Cup championship.

It’s no secret that disabilities happen in professional sports. Football gets a bad rap for causing injuries, but sports like hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading and lacrosse actually have high rates of injury. Lately though, basketball and baseball have been making headlines for disabled players.

This past season, Louisville Cardinals basketball player, Kevin Ware, was carried off the court after he severely injured his leg. The injury was so graphic it had to be covered with a towel and hidden from onlookers. The Yankees’ star player, Alex Rodriguez has been battling a severe quad injury and recovering from hip surgery he had in January. Rodriguez’s recent 211-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis, performance enhancing drug scandal, has put worries about his injury near the bottom of his list.

Injuries in the Major Leagues are so prevalent in fact that both CBS and FOX Sports keep an updated list of players out on injury and the expected return of athletes to the game. Medical files and history are becoming increasingly important for teams when it comes to trades and signings.

According to the Bleacher Report, “health is as much a focus of many deals as talent”.

Before Monday’s game against the White Sox, shortstop Derek Jeter was again placed on the 15-day disabled list. It seems the Yankees cannot beat the injuries plaguing their team. Most teams purchase disability policies for insuring 60-70% of their key players’ salaries. However, these policies won’t cover the athlete in the event of a lockout or suspension.

“Each professional athlete needs to be aware that the team’s disability policy is simply not enough. Yes, they make a lot of money and would probably be fine if they had to take a month or two off to recover. The problem arises when the injury results in a long-term disability that keeps players out for years, finishes off their careers and their income streams. Disability insurance is the life source for these athletes and protects them from losing it all. Their careers and incomes are dependent on their health and their ability to play the game. Getting the right long-term individual disability insurance policy is key to securing their financial future, for themselves and their families,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s top disability insurance lawyer.

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