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Injured Utah athletes’ families fear future without insurance
UHSAA » Families of injured athletes fear a policy change that would eliminate catastrophic insurance.

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She doesn’t know how much of the maximum benefit her son has used, but the catastrophic coverage has been important. It helps pay for the caretakers.

It covered the van and the wheelchair conversion kit, with its $62,000 price tag. It covers the $1,200 a month Lawrence uses in catheters.

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"We’d have to re-use them" without that insurance, he said.

"I’d have to file for bankruptcy every so often," Giles added.

"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.

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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."

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