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"Last thing you think about" » Not far away, in Oakley, Jill Hancock is receiving insurance letters, too.
Her son, Porter, was paralyzed while playing football for the Wildcats in October 2011. The catastrophic plan is the family’s secondary insurance, and it pays out $1,000 each month, which the family uses for vitamins and gas to his physical therapy.
The Hancocks’ family insurance covers 20 sessions each year.
"[Without the catastrophic coverage] he would definitely not be able to go to therapy as often as the doctors want him to," Jill Hancock said.
The insurance also paid for a standing frame and a $17,000 bicycle that sends electrodes into the teen’s legs, helping decrease spasms and improve muscle mass and bone density.
At six months, the UHSAA’s catastrophic plan paid out $50,000. The Hancocks bought a truck with a conversion system. Now the South Summit senior is getting stronger and can transfer himself into the truck by himself — though someone always watches him because he has spasms in his legs. He drives himself to high school and will drive himself to UVU next fall.
"It’s definitely helped us a ton," Jill Hancock said of the UHSAA policy. "I didn’t know there was such a thing. It’s the last thing you think about."
Help fleeting » Dale Lawrence, the boy who used to squat 300 pounds and dead-lift 400 pounds, puts the handle of his spoon inside a thick piece of red foam — otherwise he might drop it when he eats.
He can hold himself up on the back of the couch sometimes, and with help and a walker, he’s gone about 150 feet.
But Giles no longer believes her son will ever be able to walk on his own.
"What do you think, Dale?"
"I might," he said.
"He’s got a better outlook than I do."
"Just a little bit," he said and he grinned.
"He don’t ever have a bad day," she said. "How do you do it, Dale? It’s not even me in your chair and I ... I can’t. It’s just hard."
Lawrence will be on his mother’s insurance until he is 26. After that, he will rely solely on the catastrophic coverage — unless it has already been exhausted.
Flinders, the UHSAA trustee from Summit County, said he doesn’t want injured athletes such as Lawrence and Hancock to be forgotten in time.
"The community raised tons of money, built them a house. Raised money to pay for the deductible and more," he said. "After a year or two, that goes away, and people kind of forget what happened. Those fundraisers don’t keep coming."
Giles is already looking toward the future. A million dollars used to sound like a lot to her, but the money is going fast.
"How long’s that going to last? That’s what I worry about now. Even at 10 years, what’s he going to do? Let’s say it lasts that long," Giles said, her voice trailing off. "I don’t know. This is a forever thing. It’s not going to go away after 10 years."
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