By James E. Girards

I was shocked to learn that Richardson ISD does not provide catastrophic health coverage to its student athletes like almost all of the other school districts in Texas do.  [You can read more about that here].  Understand, this is 5A football country. These players are big, hit hard, and are at risk for serious injury at every practice and at every game, including crippling knee injuries and paralysis. I know a handful of young athletes in schools that feed into Lake Highlands High School in Richardson ISD, and these are good kids whose families cannot afford a catastrophic injury. Yet, they are great athletes and deserve to play.  Here is what they face according to statistics from the Dallas Morning News, gleaned from the National Athletic Trainers Association:

•Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries.

•Among children, those aged 15-17 experience the highest emergency room visits for sports injuries.

•Rates of sports injury visits to ERs were highest in remote, rural settings.

•High school athletes suffer two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.

•There are three times as many catastrophic football injuries among high school athletes as college athletes.

•Sixty-two percent of sports-related injuries occur during practices.

So, why is Richardson ISD so irresponsible with the lives of these young athletes?  Is it the cost?  Apparently, not, according to an interview by The Dallas Morning News in a recent article: "School insurance is such a teeny, teeny part of a school’s budget,” said David Cates, the owner and president of The Brokerage Store. “It’s not even worth discussing. In a big school district, it’s nothing.”

If you agree the district should protect its young athletes, please send an email to the Richardson ISD School Board by clicking here and ask them to stop rolling the dice with these young athletes' lives.

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