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Despite insurance hike, east Hawkins youth football offered at no extra cost to parents

Jeff Bobo • May 3, 2018 at 11:42 AM

CHURCH HILL — Despite the rising cost of liability insurance, there will be youth football in east Hawkins County this summer and fall, with the cities absorbing the increased cost rather than passing it on to the parents.

Last month it was revealed during the Church Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting that the recreation department’s liability insurance provider wouldn’t be covering football in 2018.

Tim Wilson, who directs the Church Hill-Mount Carmel-Surgoinsville Parks and Recreation League, acquired a quote to cover football alone for $2,860.

That amount combined with the cost to insure all other sports leagues brings the total insurance cost for the year up to around $13,200.

There was some discussion at the April Church Hill BMA meeting about the feasibility of keeping youth football leagues due to the rising cost of insuring football, which is likely due to an increased awareness and/or media coverage of football injuries.

“I think concussions are the main concern, but the way I felt, and my Recreation Commission felt like, as long as we can offer the sport of tackle football, we will,” Wilson told the Times News Wednesday. “I think that’s only fair to the kids who want to play. A lot of people felt we were implying we weren’t possibly going to have football. I don’t think that was ever the case. It was just something we’ve never had to worry about in the past, which is the insurance carrier, and I think that was the main thing that really scared people.”

Wilson added, “As long as the option is there, I feel like we will have football.”

The three cities jointly offer a youth football league for players from age 6 until they are eligible to play for their middle school team.

Wilson said he’s seen children suffer a broken bone on rare occasions while playing youth football, and there are always bruises and players getting the wind knocked out of them.

But he’s never seen a child in Church Hill suffer a life-altering injury while playing youth football (knock on wood).

“Parents realize the risk they’re taking and we try to make sure parents do realize — if they don’t know the game of football — they do realize what risks they’re going to be taking by letting their sons or daughters play football,” Wilson said.

The Recreation Board also agreed to absorb the additional cost for insurance between the three cities, leaving the equipment fee at $40 for city residents and $50 for county residents.

Church Hill youth league football registration starts July 1, and players will have the entire month of July to register. Practice usually starts in August shortly after Hawkins County Schools come back from summer vacation.

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