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updated: 3/25/2013 2:45 PM

Supporters keep fighting for more athlete insurance in Dist. 214

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In the wake of Rob Komosa's death, the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board is again being urged to provide catastrophic accident insurance for its student athletes.

Members of the Gridiron Alliance made the plea at last week's board meeting, a day after legislation requiring high schools to provide coverage moved through a state senate panel, and five days after Komosa -- a former Rolling Meadows High School football player paralyzed during a 1999 practice -- died.

The Gridiron Alliance, an organization started by Deacon Don Grossnickle of Arlington Heights in the aftermath of Komosa's life-changing accident, previously asked the District 214 board to include a catastrophic injury insurance policy in the next budget, but was turned down.

"I violently disagree with your decision for many reasons," Grossnickle told the board. "You did the wrong thing then (with Komosa). And you are doing the wrong thing again now."

Komosa eventually settled a lawsuit against the district in 2005 for $12.5 million.

"Without the lawsuit I don't know what would have happened to (Komosa)," Jim Thomas, a Mount Prospect resident who is on the board of the Gridiron Alliance, told the school board. "You don't do things that are dangerous without insurance. It seems like there's more we could do to help these kids, even though so few get hurt like this -- when they do, it's catastrophic."

School board President Jim Perkins expressed his condolences for the loss of Komosa, but didn't comment further on the insurance issue.

But Superintendent David Schuler did email Grossnickle about the decision.

"(The decision) should not be misconstrued as a lack of caring for the well-being of our student athletes. We all care about the safety of our students," he wrote.

The legislation, sponsored Sen. Napoleon Harris, a former NFL linebacker and Chicago Democrat, would require public and private schools to carry catastrophic accident insurance to cover student athletes injured in Illinois High School Association-sanctioned events. The measure was approved unanimously on Wednesday will head to the Senate floor for further debate.

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