JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In the wake of the devastating knee injury to Louisville's Kevin Ware, there has been increased awareness and concern about health insurance for student athletes.
A petition started by a progressive group has gotten thousands of signatures since it was started just 24 hours ago, and it's getting some big name support.
"They're showing you your cleats, the jersey with your name on it, they're not showing you your diploma with your name on it," said former FSU Football player Atrews Bell.
When Bell signed up to play football at Florida State University in the late 90's, he understood the sport was going to be his job.
"The majority of the time, I spent more time on the field than in the classroom," said Bell.
So for Bell, if someone is hurt on the job, the job pays for care.
In this case, the college or university the athlete is attending.
Bell said he agrees with the Progressive Change Campaign petition that would require athletic programs to cover athletes completely.
"What is he doing after he can't perform anymore? Essentially he's not part of the team," he said.
The NCAA released a response to the petition Tuesday night, arguing that each player must have personal insurance, and the college or university does pay for catastrophic injuries that exceed $90 thousand dollars.
JU Football Coach Kerwin Bell said he's rarely seen an injury that serious.
"Most of these injuries are not lifelong injuries, you get it fixed, you get it done properly," he said.
He just had a player break his ankle in a scrimmage on Saturday, but his insurance will cover the injury, and the University's medical staff will take care of the rehab.
"We're competing. It's very fast, it's very physical and that's what we demand of our kids," he said.
Track: Coach Bell says all the athletes at JU get top notch care while they're at the university.
Atrews Bell asks: what happens when they leave?
"When you leave there, you take injuries that were basically on the job, and I think they should be taken care of," he said.
First Coast News