I’ve recently had a number of questions about “medical redshirts” or what are officially called Medical Hardship Waivers in college athletics.
Perhaps the most important factor in a Medical Hardship Waiver request is the medical documentation to substantiate the injury.
The best case scenario for an athlete to be granted a medical hardship waiver is that the medical documentation from the actual time of the injury or diagnosis state that “this athlete is not yet released to return to full competition in their sport” or a similar statement. When no such statement is included and it is unclear whether the injury is serious enough to prevent the athlete from competing in their sport, it is less certain that the NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA will approve the Waiver request.
In addition, when an athlete has not competed at all during a season, even though they had an injury during that season, often times the athletic department will not submit a Medical Hardship Waiver because they are considering that season to be a basic redshirt season. This is because a season of competition wasn’t triggered for the athlete. It can still be beneficial to process the Medical Hardship Waiver, or at the least, be certain to retain the medical documentation from that injury.
The documentation will be very important in the future of the athlete happens to become injured again and miss a second season of competition. In that situation, it would be possible for the athlete to obtain an extension of their eligibility “clock” and add another year of eligibility. This is possible when an athlete has missed not just one, but more than one season of competition due to injury or illness.
We can prepare Medical Hardship Waivers or “clock extension” waivers when a college athletic department is not experienced with that process or their workload is such that they are reluctant to prepare the waiver.
To discuss your athlete’s specific situation and their opportunity for a Medical Hardship Waiver or even an extension of their eligibility “clock”, contact us at 913-766-1235 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.