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Iowa’s Concussion Insurance Excludes Most Girls

Andy Berg

This story has been corrected to note that the HeadStrong program was created by brokerage firm Dissinger Reed and was sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau for IHSAA. 

The Iowa High School Athletic Association's recently announced concussion insurance for high school athletes won't cover the majority of female athletes in the state. 

The program, which was created by brokerage firm Dissinger Reed and picked up by the Iowa High School Athletic Association is being sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau. The HeadStrong program, which was announced last week, provides “first dollar” insurance coverage for concussion diagnosis and treatment with no deductible and complete co-pay coverage. Student-athletes can claim $25,000 per concussion, with a maximum of two concussions per year. The cost of the program is $1.50 per athlete, per year and all claims are paid by K&K Insurance. HeadStrong insurance covers all IHSAA-sanctioned sports, including football, baseball, basketball, bowling, non-competition cheerleading, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming, wrestling, track and field, and cross country.

Unfortunately, nearly all female high-school athletes in Iowa, other than those who participate in IHSAA-sanctioned boy’s programs or cheerleading, participate in sports sanctioned by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, which hasn't implemented HeadStrong or any other similar offering. 

The Iowa Farm Bureau confirmed in a Facebook post that the coverage applies only to IHSAA-sanctioned sports:  

“The coverage is for all students (boys and girls) in grades 9 – 12 practicing or playing interscholastic sports sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, which includes the boys sports teams (and the girls who play on those boys teams, such as girls who wrestle or play football) and the cheerleaders for those boys sports teams. Girls high school sports teams are sanctioned through the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, which doesn’t have a program at this time.”

The IGHSAU could not be reached for comment on whether it is pursuing a program similar to the one developed by IHSAA.

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