Medical Hardship Waivers – The Importance of Documentation

While the NCAA, NAIA, and Junior Colleges offer Medical Hardship Waivers for student-athletes who are injured or become ill, the rules and criteria for each organization varies.  However, the most important factor in a Medical Hardship Waiver request is the medical documentation to substantiate the injury. 

The best case scenario for a student-athlete to be granted a medical hardship waiver is that the medical documentation from the actual time of the injury or diagnosis states that “this athlete is not yet released to return to full competition in their sport” or a similar statement.

When no such physician statement is included and it is unclear whether the injury is serious enough to prevent the student-athlete from competing in their sport, it is much less certain that the waiver will be approved.

The documentation can also be very important in the future if the student-athlete happens to become injured again and misses a second season of competition. In that situation, it would be possible for the student-athlete to obtain an extension of their eligibility “clock” and add another year of eligibility. This is possible when a student-athlete has missed not just one, but more than one season of competition due to injury or illness.

We routinely prepare Medical Hardship Waivers when a college athletic department is not experienced with that process or they don’t have the time or manpower 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