University athlete insurance coverage: Kevin Ware injury sparks debate

When Louisville’s sophomore guard Kevin Ware broke his leg in a devastating on-court incident this week, it revealed a greater debate around college athletes and their health insurance coverage.

After Ware suffered the injury on the court during the NCAA tournament, he was taken to a hospital to repair the compound fractures to his tibia. Louisville officials said the university had a policy on its varsity athletes, to ensure that Ware would not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for his injury or rehabilitation, The New York Times reported.

But, Ware will likely be personally responsible for any health care expenses stemming from the injury after he leaves the university. Injuries or conditions sustained during playing for a college that could have long-term implications are not covered by a university’s or NCAA’s medical insurance, the Times reported.

“Ware’s injury underscores just how vulnerable college athletes are: in a moment it can all be gone,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, an advocacy group for athletes, the Times reported.

“Once you’re a former player, you’re on your own,” Huma said.