Suffering an Injury

New York Daily News—New York, NY—August 8, 2006

Last March, Michele Chitson’s trip to an upstate ski resort ended up being unexpectedly expensive.

After a full day of hitting the slopes, the U.K.-bred New Yorker literally hit the slope: She got her skis tangled and fell, twisting her leg and tearing ligaments in her knee.

Despite having health insurance, she racked up $400 in emergency medical fees, paid over $1,000 for surgery and has so far spent nearly $500 for physical therapy.

Sports injuries can be as rough on your wallet as they are on your body.

Soccer and basketball tend to result in a lot of injuries “because people will play these sports into their 40s, and as we get older it’s more taxing to do these things,” said Robert G. Marx, M.D., M.Sc., FRCSC, an associate attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Those who work full-time crouched in front of a keyboard or running from one meeting to another also “don’t have the time to do the sport as frequently, so they’re not in as good shape.”

Rodney Gregory, 37, a Bronx resident and telephone technician, found that out while playing basketball in his company’s league.

During a game in January, he stole the ball and raced down the court until a sharp pain in his heel sent him tumbling to the floor. “I laid there for a minute in agony,” he said.

Surgery to repair his Achilles tendon at Hospital for Special Surgery cost him about $4,000 and physical therapy sessions have added up to more than $2,400, he said.

Costs can range widely depending on your insurance plan and whether you choose a doctor who is within the plan’s network. Health data company Ingenix puts the average amount health care providers in the New York area get at $8,500 for ACL repair, $3,200 for shoulder dislocation repair and $6,450 to fix a ruptured Achilles tendon, including physical therapy.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite sport and slouch on the couch instead. Marx advises sports fans to ward off injury by doing weight training.

“Also, if you’re not physically fit and haven’t done the sport in a while, think twice before you do something too aggressive,” he warned.

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