Injured Athlete Fights Insurance Cutoff

Football star paralyzed 10 years ago may find help in insurance plan passed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With insurance benefits exhausted -- and with more than $70,000 in medical bills accrued since then -- Rocky Clark's family is turning to the state of Illinois for help. (Published Friday, Nov 5, 2010)

    It's been 10 years since a football accident left Eisenhower football star Rasul "Rocky" Clark paralyzed from the neck down.  Since then, a certified nursing assistant has provided her son with round-the-clock medical care.

    It was all paid for through Social Security and a $5 million catastrophic injury insurance policy taken out by the school district.

    But a two-line letter the family received in August informed them that the policy was being capped and that further benefits would not be paid.

    With the benefits exhausted -- and with more than $70,000 in medical bills accrued since then -- the family is turning to the state of Illinois for help.

    "We are trying to survive on a day-to-day basis,” said Clark's mother, Annette Clark. 

    Rocky Clarke admits that he’s worried, but relies on his faith to get him and the family through the hardship. 

    "Where there is a will there’s a way," he said.  "God’s in control."

    Community High School District 218 learned that the policy had been capped two weeks ago and has been working with the family to see what can be done.

    Superintendent Dr. John Byrne asked the original insurance company to see if there was any money left in the policy. An audit turned up some funds, but it’s not clear how much.

    According to Byrne, Clark’s best hope may not be Gov. Pat Quinn, but his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich

    Blagojevich pushed for insurance coverage for every Illinois child, and the school is now working with the state to see if Rocky Clark qualifies for I-CHIP, the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program

    Annette Clark said her greatest fear is that her son will have to move into a nursing home.  

    "I want my son to live," said Clark's mother, Annette.  "I want him here with me as long as God will let him be."

    Rocky Clark said many people never expected him to live as long as he did after his accident, but added:  "I’m here for a reason, fighting the fight.  I will continue to do that."