In the wake of Louisville student-athlete Kevin Ware’s injury during Sunday’s regional final of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, there have been questions about how insurance coverage is provided for NCAA student-athletes. The following details provide an overview.
Student-athletes must have insurance covering athletic-related injuries to practice and compete, per rules adopted by NCAA institutions – and in most cases colleges and universities provide that coverage.
Nearly all Division I schools offer this coverage, and more than 75 percent of institutions in Divisions II and III do so as well, according to NCAA research.
Once claims or expenses for an injury reach $90,000, the NCAA's catastrophic insurance plan covers the medical costs for an injured student-athlete to ensure they have access to the care they need.
During NCAA championships, the NCAA provides supplemental insurance for student-athletes who are injured up to $90,000 in medical expenses—in effect doubling the coverage provided by the school (or a student's family insurance). Once that level is met, the NCAA catastrophic policy activates.
It’s important to understand that a student-athlete’s injury does not have to be catastrophic to be covered by the NCAA catastrophic program. Simply having medical expenses exceeding $90,000 will trigger the program’s coverage.