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IndyCar Crash, Dario Franchitti Injured in Grand Prix in Houston

Sunday, in the Grand Prix of Houston, three time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti was injured in a serious crash. According to CNN.com, his car was bumped by Japanese driver Takuma Sato, as it flew airborne into protective fencing. The car spun multiple times against the fence, sending shards of debris flying toward the grandstands and shearing off part of its side. (CNN.com, Indy winner Dario Franchitti, 13 others hurt in Houston race wreck, October 7, 2013)

USA Today reported that Franchitti was being treated at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center for two broken vertebrae, a broken right ankle and a concussion. Franchitti had surgery Sunday to repair his right ankle, Target Ganassi Racing spokesperson Kelby Krauss told USA TODAY Sports, (USA Today, Graham Rahal: Franchitti wreck reminds him of Wheldon, October 6, 2013)

In a follow up, Sports Illustrated reported that Franchitti will have a second surgery on his ankle Wednesday in Indianapolis. (SportsIllustrated/CNN.com, Dario Franchitti faces second surgery after IndyCar wreck, October 7, 2013)

The accident in Turn 5 was reminiscent of Dan Wheldon’s fatal 2011 crash in Las Vegas. That crash refocused attention on catchfence safety technology and has been among the hottest topics in motor racing since two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Wheldon died at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon’s car flew 325 feet through the air in a fiery 15-car wreck that caused the race’s cancellation. Ironically, Franchitti’s accident was just 10 days shy of the two-year anniversary of Wheldon’s death. Not only was Franchitti injured, 13 spectators near the protective fencing were injured by debris from the on track collision.* USA Today

Frank N. Darras, disability lawyer to the pros, has been shining a bright light on the importance of total individual disability insurance policies for athletes. Whether its top draft picks in the NCAA or superstar players who suffer injuries in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB or NASCAR and INDY racers; disability insurance is the key to protecting their incomes.

“These athletes are making big money and the window is very short for them to stockpile enough income to support themselves and family for a lifetime. If a player or driver gets injured or seriously ill, he can lose it all in a heartbeat,” says Darras.

The biggest advantages to having a clearly defined, own-occupation disability insurance policy is that it provides protection should a player/participant not be able to perform the important duties of their occupation. Whether they are a professional race car driver or a point guard in the NBA, the particular occupation and income that go with that occupation are protected. Should any sickness or injury occur, the professional athlete is still guaranteed their monthly disability benefit even if they can work in another position, such as coach or sportscaster. This clause is vital to protecting the income of any athlete should the unforeseeable or unspeakable occur, says Darras.

“I strongly urge all players, drivers, general managers, owners and sponsors to educate their teams on how critical it is to have own-occupation disability insurance policies in place. This also goes for the NCAA and its rising draft picks. When college star players like Marqis Lee and Johnny Manziel take out individual disability insurance policies, it is a real sign that they understand the value of their talent and future earning ability. These future superstars know the importance of getting real protection,” says Darras. Professional athletes should take a page out of their playbooks, do the math and secure their income earning ability no matter what.

Finally, always get great advice from a top disability insurance lawyer with a history of navigating the fine print of “own-occupation” disability insurance policies, says Darras.

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