My Visit to See Rocky Clark


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

Today, I stood in the presence of a true soldier. I went to the hospital in Chicago to visit Rasul “Rocky” Clark, the young brother who was paralyzed 10 years ago in a football accident at the age of 16. Rocky was paralyzed from the neck down, only able to move his head and nothing else. His legs and arms are thinner than anything I’ve ever seen, he can barely breathe, and he’s dying right now because his insurance company decided to kill his policy.

Rocky’s mother, Annette, has stood by her son day-in and day-out every single day since the accident. She has a bed right next to him in the hospital and repeatedly told me that “I’m not gonna leave my baby.” Every normal day seems to be abnormally tragic, with nurses cleaning bacteria out of Rocky’s one remaining lung, and the young man quietly repeating the words, “Mama, I can’t breathe.”

I cried when I stood with Rocky’s mother, because I connected to a piece of her pain. I thought about the fact that Rocky is the same age as my own brother, and I would be torn to pieces after seeing my brother in such a devastating situation. Rocky could barely speak, but he spoke with the wisdom of a man who’d been sitting in the same spot and only able to move his head since the year 2000.  He told me about the importance of continuing to fight and never taking life for granted.  He also told me that he believes no person on earth should have to go through such an experience without adequate healthcare coverage.

In the interview below, I speak with Rocky’s mother as she describes how her insurance company, “Health Special Risk, Inc.” sent her a two sentence letter letting her know that her son’s policy had hit it’s $5 million dollar cap. She also mentioned how Rocky’s school, Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois, had no problem using this young black man as a piece of athletic meat, but care almost nothing for him as he lies in the hospital about to die from their negligence. Administrators told Rocky and his mother that he had a lifetime policy, but now everyone threw their hands in the air when it was determined that the policy only covered $5 million dollars or the rest of your life, whichever one comes first. Please visit to join our coalition to help this young man, and I advise all parents to understand what their kids are getting into when they play the sports that are marketed to our young children.

Our conversation is below. Yes, the video quality is not very good, but I had to record this by any means necessary. Rocky’s story needs to be told somehow – I hope you will help me share it.




Filed under African Americans

10 responses to “My Visit to See Rocky Clark

  1. How far should we go? $5 million is a lot of money to spend on someone who is not likely to improve. What should we do? The mom, of course, wants her son to live, but she isn’t paying for the treatment. I suppose that the young man or his mom signed a waiver form, or else they would have sued the school.

    Our health care techmology enables us to do amazing things, but sooner or later, everybody dies. We fight a losing battle with the “last enemy,” if we only think of victory as being within the physical realm and outside of the victory that is in Christ. I will pray that this young man and his family experiences healing and deliverance soon.

  2. Based upon everything that you all talked about, perhaps she should try to sue, if she has grounds. The fact about the other child in another state is a red herring, emotionally appealing, but legally irrelevant. If the district has a life-time coverage policy for students, then she should get it enforced. If it has a $5 million cap, and he has reached it, then she would have to find other coverage. It is that simple. It is that painful, but that simple.

    One solution would be to get the schools out of the professional sports business. High school athletes are functionally no different from minor league baseball players, and it is not the job of the school district to support the business interests of the NBA or NFL.

    I won’t fault you for your concern, but you are an economics professor, and you know the bottom line. There is only so far that we, as a a society can go. The rest of one’s life DOES have an expiration date, adn money makes a difference, as does location. If Rocky were living 100 years ago, he would have died by now. Life is NOT FAIR, remember Lazarus and the Rich Man? I do not know the answer to this, from a moral standpoint, that will please everyone. I only know that “it is appointed to man once to die, and after this, the judgment.” If Rocky is a Christian, then whether he lives or dies, he is the Lord’s.

  3. J. McBean

    My concern is that we continue to rely on this failed system. What about our wealthy and rich black professionals, athletes, entertainers and scholars (some scholars do amass tremendous amounts of wealth). Where are they?? Where are they? Where the heck are we when we need each other the most. This is morally reprehensible for the insurance company to pull out like this, but let’s face it…it’s within the law. More reprehensible is the absence of black pro football players to step forward and drop (what amounts to a “penny” to some of them) on this young man, or better yet…establish a fund whereby the monies can grow. There is no excuse for this. None!

  4. Maybe someone should ask him if he want to continue living the way he is. We as mother’s can’t let go even when it is the best for our children.
    I blame the insurance after they have committed to paying for the last ten years. I don’t think we should think football players are going to pay. What I have learn from this is I’m never going to forc my grandson to play football again.

  5. V. Sanders

    I would feel the same way Rocky’s mother feels. I would fight for my child to live by all means necessary. Life should not have a price placed on it. The insurance company and the school system is wrong for turning their backs on this young man. He did what they asked of him when he played football for them so now they need to stand by him in his time of need.

  6. Apparently Delwyn X. Campbell, you don’t have children. THANK GOD!
    My granddaughter was in a car accident and was quadriplegic, had a trek in her throat so she could talk. She was in the hospital for years! All the nurses and doctors loved her. Her mother was there the entire time. Monique finished 2 years of college, had her own apartment and her own aides. Monique would write stories and letters with her mouth stick! She went all over town in her wheelchair. Sometimes the bus drivers would pass her up, Most of them were very nice to her. Her pictures and story was in the Denver Post. She lived 29 years!
    So don’t you dare put a price on life!!
    I hope someone in law will help Rocky’s mother. It doesn’t sound like his
    mother has anyone to help her legally or otherwise. There is always hope
    when it comes to the body. Annette can get in touch with me thru my email if she likes. Wholistic Health can turn anything around….BUT, you have to believe! I’ve been in this business for 30 years.
    This country does not want you to know about it. Every drug your doctor prescribes has a side affect! That’s how they make their money!
    You are nothing but a paycheck to your doctor/s
    If you eat healthy….fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds, grains, preferably raw or lightly steamed, you can overcome any ailment.

    Enjoy Miracles,

  7. I’m not sure hpow relevant my parental status is to this issue, or why you would thank God if I were not a parent. Since you brought it up, I am a father, and my son lives with me.

    My points were simple, and logical. We now live in a time when school districts no longer fund fine arts education, and physical fitness education is basically restricted to student athletes in many school districts. Teachers are getting laid off by the hundreds. Under such conditions, it might be difficult for a school district to go beyond the cap that apparently exists on their insurance. If such i the case (that such a cap, in fact, exists), the district has fulfilled its obligation.

    If the young man is disabled, as he is, is he ineligible for social security? If he is eligible, can he get treatment through Social Security? if not, why not?

    Bottom line, we do not live in a time when school districts are flush with cash in many school districts. I do not know about this district, but I do know that, at some point, this young man will die. That is the Biblical truth, just as one day, my son will die, and one day I will die. More important than how long I can stave off the inevitable is whagt will happen to me afterward; will I be absent from the body, and present with the Lord, or in hell will I lift up my eyes? I have done all that I can to ensure that my son, when I die, will see me again, along with the other saints, in the presence of the Lord.

    Regarding your final point, Phyllis, it sounds like you are suggesting that there is a natural remedy that can reverse this young man’s paralysis. If so, could you share more information about that? I’m sure that, not only his grandmother, but everyone in this forum, would be interested in a remedy that does not involve possibly immoral stem cell research, and that could restore this man to wholeness. I hope that you will share that information, and God bless you for so sharing.

  8. Delwyn, I’m sorry for my rudeness., but I’m passionate when it comes to
    our health. The first thing I would suggest is to find a Wholistic Practitioner.
    Go online and Google for a Black practitioner, if possible. Also a colon therapist, chiropractor, a massage therapist. I want everyone to understand these are the practitioners that help the body heal itself. Our biggest challenge is our colon. No one wants to take the time to eliminate after each meal! Yes, I said after each meal. Babies and animals both eliminate after eating until we tell our children to “hold it until we get home”, or hold it if parents are busy on the phone, etc. Our bodies heal while we are sleeping. That’s why it is important to listen to our bodies.
    This young man isn’t receiving the care needed to heal his body. He is in a hospital that makes their money on patients. His mother’s insurance may have run out. Tough S..t. That’s how much this country thinks about its citizens. Rocky can be helped, but it will be a long process and he has to “want” to get well. By that, I mean, “Your Thoughts and Your Words, create your reality’. IF you THINK you can, your right!…..
    If you SAY you can’t, your right! Your brain responds to your thoughts!
    Most people who are reading this will not believe. Our culture has been taught to read the bible and pray. I respect that. But, you have to understand the body, and you don’t have to be a doctor or a rocket scientist. Our body talks to us….we just aren’t listening. If you have a headache, it’s telling you your bloodstream is toxic. Your not drinking enough Pure Water, or if you have a stomach ache, it’s telling you’ve
    mixed the wrong food together. Eliminate the colon. I have more respect for the drug dealers on the street than I do doctors who sit in their offices and prescribe drug they know have side effects. We have to take responsibility for our own health. Not the doctors. Have you noticed the TV ads have more Black ‘actors’ pushing drugs than whites. I believe the sponsors have lost their white base and are making it up by using more
    Black folks. Why, because Blacks continue to take the drugs, even though, we know there are SIDE EFFECTS. Wake up people! All you have to do is……eat fruits, veggies (steamed), nuts, seeds, grains. Not roasted or salted, and plenty of Pure Water. The rule for drinking water is….take your body weight, divide that figure into two, and that’s how many ounces of water your body requires daily! It doesn’t want pop, booze, kool aide. It wants WATER! Do you now how much sugar is in kool aide. Read all your labels on everything. Diabetes is very prevalent in our culture. SUGAR IS THE REASON!!! Remember, you can overcome
    any health challenge just by changing your diet and eliminating the colon.

    I believe I’ve preached enough (smiles).

    Love you all!

    Enjoy Miracles,
    Phyllis Reid
    Wholistic Practitioner
    Your site for Healthy Choices

  9. Dear Phyllis,
    Thank you for your gracious response. My words could be construed as whowing little compassion for the pain of this man’s mother. In fact, I truly understand whaqt she feels, for I am a parent, and I would pray until my son’s heart stopped beating, and his brain stopped functioning, for God to deliver his body from death, even as I would rejoice, after his death, in the fact that he is a believer in Christ.

    I am concerned, and my words were directed, at the idea that Rocky and his mom were being malevolently targetted by Eisenhower H.S. and the insurance company, and that there was no other option than for the insurance company to continue beyond the cap level. As a disabled person, Rocky should be eligible for Social Securty Disability coverage. yet I heard nothing from Dr. Watkins on this point. In addition, while it may be true that the high school and the school distsrict may have benefited from the high school football program, it is also true that the professional sports leagues, the NFL and NBA in particular, benefit from the talent pool that is developed via high school and college athletics. Yet not a word in these articles about the free training and screening program that supplies athletes to play on the fields and courts of professional franchises.

    At the end of the day, I pray that thsi young man is stabilized and healed, but if the Lord sees fit, He can take him home. In that event, I pray that the Lord will supply grace to Rocky’s mom and other relatives, so that they do not sorrow like those who have no hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s