‘Punished for Living Too Long,’ Paralyzed High School Football Player Dies at 27

Rocky Clark in his home in Robbins in 2010.
Rocky Clark in his home in Robbins in 2010.

The sad news comes from the Chicago Tribune: “Rasul “Rocky” Clark, who was paralyzed while playing football for Blue Island’s Eisenhower High School in 2000 and later fought an unsuccessful battle to keep his health insurance, died Thursday after undergoing surgery at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, a hospital spokeswoman said.”

More from the Trib:

He was a 16-year-old backup running back on Sept. 15, 2000, when Eisenhower’s starting running back separated his shoulder in a game at Oak Forest High School. Mr. Clark went into the game. Four plays later, he was tackled and suffered two broken vertebrae in his neck and a spinal injury.

Left a quadriplegic, Mr. Clark for 10 years received top-notch health care through the catastrophic medical insurance provided by Community High School District 218. That included nurses in his home around the clock, access to pain medicines and prescriptions and a storeroom of supplies.

But in August 2010, Clark was informed the $5 million health insurance had reached its maximum and would no longer cover his medical needs. Officials with Clark’s insurance agency, Health Special Risk Inc., previously declined to discuss his case or their policies on claims and lifetime maximums with the Tribune.

At the time his policy ended, Clark said he felt he was being punished for living too long. Many quadriplegics die within 10 years after their injury because of lung or kidney failure. But Clark was able to thrive, in part because of the meticulous health care he received, his physician and family members said.

Punished for living too long.

Read the whole story here.