Why You May Not Want Your Sons to Play Football: The Rocky Clark Story

March 3, 2011

Rocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

When I read about the case of Rocky Clark, the former high school football player who is now paralyzed from the neck down, part of me cries on the inside.  His accident makes me think about my own uncle (who was like an older brother and very close to me), who was paralyzed after a car accident two years ago.  I also think about the countless young men who hit the football field every year, rolling the dice in hopes that they don’t end up like Rocky.


Rocky’s family has now run out of financial options, after their insurer, Health Special Risk Inc., has cut off their benefits.  Effectively, the family hit the $5M lifetime limit on coverage, and his mother is now left unable to pay bills in order to keep her son alive.  The bottom line is that based on his injury, the insurance company did not expect Rocky to live for another 10 years, so he is being punished for not dying fast enough.


The video about Rocky’s case is below (or you can also click here to see it).  His story tells us a great deal about the risks we take when we send our boys out onto the football field.  I am admittedly a sports fan, but when I see stories like this, I start to question the world around us.



Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University.  To have Dr. Boyce Watkins commentary delivered to your email inbox, please click here.


11 Responses to “Why You May Not Want Your Sons to Play Football: The Rocky Clark Story”

  1. […] Click to read. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged rocky clark. Bookmark the permalink. ← Dave Duerson: Said Something was Wrong with His Brain when he Killed Himself LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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  3. Angela Gardner Says:

    Hey Dr. Watkins,
    Thank you so much for sharing Rocky Clarks story. I am a disability advocate and have a disability and I can tell you that Rocky’s story is not unique. So many families are dealing with the exact same problem, being unable to get health insurance companies to pay for cost of long-term care theraputic services for their loved ones. It truly is a health care crisis that was not addressed in Affordable Care Act. Many states are also slashing and cutting healthcare programs that serve the disabled as well. People with disabilities need access to affordable health care services so they can have their long term special health care needs met. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue. We also need to find better ways to keep athletes safe while playing their sport of choice.

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