Isaiah Austin, the former Baylor star center whose NBA aspirations were abruptly shattered when it was learned he has a health condition that could be fatal, has an insurance policy worth at least $1 million, his agent, Down Clifton, confirmed to ESPN.com.
“We will get through this week, and then we’ll file the claim and get the ball rolling,” Clifton said.
The 7-foot-1 Austin took out the insurance policy through the NCAA’s elite athlete insurance program. A college basketball player typically pays about $5,000 per million, an insurance industry source said, and an athlete can collect the amount he is insured for only if he has a total disability that ends his career.
A pre-draft physical found that Austin has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder. People who have it are discouraged from taking part in strenuous exercise to avoid overtaxing the heart.
Insurance policies that cover career-ending situations usually include a 12-month wait period as the insurer sees whether the athlete can make an attempt to recover. But Austin’s case should be resolved sooner, since there’s little debate over his diagnosis and doctors’ recommendations.
Clifton said the policy would not have paid out if Austin’s career ended because of his eyesight or his shoulder.
Austin has a prosthetic right eye and had surgery on his shoulder heading into his sophomore season this past fall.
Assuming Austin qualifies, and it is expected he should, he will not have to pay taxes on his insurance payout.
Austin was projected to be a mid- to late second-round pick in Thursday’s draft.