Sunday, April 25, 2010

Field Sports – a BOON for healthcare

In the Fall, I work with students on a golf team. In all my years of playing and watching kids play, I have never seen a serious injury other than a few bruised egos with a triple bogey or two. I have never hit anyone with a golf ball, though I have thought about it a few times to speed up play. In the Spring, I coach for a High School girls lacrosse team. Yes lacrosse is a tough sport all around, but the girl’s play a civilized version of the game without pads or purposeful violence. Despite that fact, with my team alone, we are making local doctors and orthopedic healthcare specialists rich!

Routinely we field three teams a year with about 20 players on a squad. By the time training begins in earnest we will lose 20% for any number of reasons – remember this is high school. By mid-season, I usually will have racked up a few sprained ankles, some bruises and knee aches and at least one concussion. By the last quarter of the season of an 18 game schedule, we begin having trouble fielding three independent teams and players start subbing up. In the last two years our injury stats now sound like a famous Christmas song – 8 sprained ankles not leaping; 5 concussions not thinking; 3 broken feet a smelling; 2 broken fingers taped together; and a broken arm, in an arm sling.

Yes field sports like soccer, football, lacrosse, and field hockey really rack up the abuse on our kids and their parent’s insurance claims. I have not even bothered to compile statistics on other mundane injuries and health issues like general joint pain, bruising, asthma, headaches, back pain, rashes, and minor boo boo band-aids for blisters and the like. Our team alone is a boon or bust for the healthcare economy depending on how you look at it. I wonder how many new pairs of arch supports, shoes, and cleats our kids have bought over the years to stay in our program? How many GP’s are seeing my kid’s on a regular basis to make sure their casts are still on and the kid’s injuries are healing as expected?

Now I only bring this all up because it appears, given America’s current healthcare trajectory, that EVERYONE eventually will share in everyone else’s healthcare needs collectively. So whether you appreciate field sports or not and their inherent higher risk of injury, some of your money will help cover my athletes expensive rehabilitation. Now while I sincerely appreciate YOUR generosity, I am just not completely sure if I or the rest of America is as equally charitable as you. I personally don’t really want to pay even a thin dime for people who lead risky lifestyles like smoking, drugs, alcohol, obesity and DEMANDING SPORTS. So keep my lacrosse girls in mind the next time you visit the doctor. They are partially responsible for creating a genuine boon for healthcare – a BOONDOGGLE that is!

No comments:

Post a Comment