How to Get a Medical Redshirt

How to Get a Medical Redshirt

Injuries are a fact of life in sports, but in college they carry extra weight. Serious injuries cause athletes to lose some of the precious time they have competing in college athletics. Time marches on, whether it’s the four seasons an athlete can play, the five-year clock in Division I, or the 10-semester/15-quarter rule in Divisions II and III.

The NCAA has a process for giving athletes back seasons they lose to injury. It is commonly called a medical red-shirt, but the technical term is a medical hardship waiver. A student-athlete’s school must apply for the waiver, and it can be granted or denied. Every waiver that meets the published criteria is granted, with rare exceptions.

Medical Hardship Requirements

To be eligible for a medical hardship waiver, a student-athlete has to meet the following criteria:

  • The student-athlete must suffer the injury during one of their four seasons of college competition or during the senior year of high school.
  • The injury must be incapacitating. That means it must be a season-ending injury.
  • The injury must occur prior to the start of the second half of the season.
  • The student-athlete must not have competed in more than 30% of the season or three contests, whichever is greater.

All of these must be proven with documentation. That means medical documentation to prove the injury and that it was season-ending and participation information to show that the student-athlete did not play in too many contests.

This documentation is normally pulled together by the compliance office and training room. Some conferences require the athlete to submit a statement or letter as part of the request. There are cases where athletes need to take a more active role though. Most common are when an athlete transfers before getting the waiver or when an athlete received a second opinion on an injury.

Regardless of how much work athletes need to do, here are some tips to make sure getting a season back goes smoothly:

Take Rehab Seriously

The medical documentation needs to show that an athlete was unable to return to competition for the rest of the season. If an athlete is missing appointments, not following the rehab program, or not getting evaluated as scheduled, it is harder for the school to prove the injury was season-ending.

Be Honest About Your Injury

This goes both ways. If you think you might be seriously hurt, it is better to know your options than to try and keep playing and potentially lose a season you could have gotten back. On the flip side, be careful about trying to nurse a minor injury to get a season back, since it might backfire.

Keep the Training Room Informed

It is important to make sure the training room knows all about your injury and treatment, but it goes doubly so if you plan to apply for a medical hardship waiver. Be sure to inform the training room about any second opinions, additional treatments, or other medications you might be taking. And bring a copy of all records so everything is in one place for the waiver.

Include Non-Sport Related Injuries and Illnesses

You can also get a season back based on an illness or injury that is unrelated to sports. If you become seriously ill or injure yourself outside of practice and games, follow these same tips just as if it had happened on the field.

Take Care of Business Quickly on Your End

If you do need to complete a task to help prepare your medical hardship waiver, make it a priority. Some conferences have time limits on when waivers can be submitted, plus delays will add to your stress. This is especially important for athletes nearing the end of their eligibility.

Medical Red-shirts and the Five-Year Clock

Athletes must keep in mind both the five-year clock and their four seasons of competition. Even if an athlete gets a medical hardship waiver, he or she needs to have time left on their five-year clock (10-semester/15-quarter clock in Divisions II and III) to use that season.

This is problematic for athletes took a normal redshirt season or sat out due to a transfer. An athlete can generally not use a medical redshirt in those cases unless they get a clock extension or sixth year waiver. To do that the athlete show they lost two seasons outside of his or her control. The medical redshirt would be one, but the athlete would still need to show another.

Finally, remember that getting the waiver is not the only consideration. The most important thing for an athlete is to get healthy and back out on the field again. Just because you might not qualify for a waiver is not an excuse to go back out there when you should not and risk losing the next season or your career.For that season, it is important that if an athlete redshirts or sits out after a transfer and it is at all possible that year might be used toward a sixth year, the athlete should document what happens during that year thoroughly. Make sure paperwork from injuries is in order, and keep up with rehab and doctors’ appointments. Any other hardship, like family financial difficulties, should be documented.

Do you have any questions about a medical redshirt? Leave them in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

235 Responses to “How to Get a Medical Redshirt”

  1. Broken Foot

    I play football at a JuCo and i redshirted my freshman year. After spring ball, I was to be starting full back this year. Unfortunally, over the summer, I broke my 5th metatarsal in my right foot, had to get surgery, and now am out for the season. I am worried that losing this year of eligibility will harm my recruiting oppurtunities after next season. Am I eligible or a medical redshirt?

    • Are you planning on going to graduate school and continuing your sport? How many years have to played already? It might be possible and the best place to get answers and begin the process will be with the university you are going to compete for as a graduate student. Their athletic department will be able to help you with the application process. Let us know if you have anymore questions.

  2. need some help

    I play college football at a division 2 my first year a red shirted the next year I got a knee injury the 3rd day of camp where I got 3 surgery’s and was out for the year but was still a full time student.This last year was my first year playing.which puts my clock at 3 years..I’m planning on going back to a JC. my 4th year…if i was to go to a division 1 school that would only leave me 1 year left because my 5 years would be up..but would I have a good case to get another year back by this waiver?…i meet all that is listed here

    • There is certainly a chances this could happen. What you want to do is contact your athletic department and have them help you with the process. Unfortunately, this isn’t a waiver you would be able to file on your own. Good luck and let me know if I can help.

    • Your situation is not a typical sounding medical shirt but you won’t know for use until you talk to you athletic department/compliance department. If you aren’t currently playing college sports then you won’t have the chance to get a medial shirt because you need to be an active athlete or getting recruited. Good luck.

  3. Soccer Mom

    A collegiate soccer (goalkeeper) player at a Division 3 college tore his ACL in the final minute of a semifinal championship game at the end of his junior season, November 2011. His surgeon released him in August 2012 at the beginning of his senior year. The coach and the player decided he was not ready to play for the first month of the season. After a month of practice, the player said he was ready to play, but the coach disagreed. The coach put that player in one game toward the end of his senior season for the last 5 minutes of the first half and the whole second half. This player will graduate May 2013 and is considering attending graduate school at a D2 college in Fall 2013. Could he be eligible for a medical waiver to play at the D2 college for a year?

  4. I am a collegiate basketball athlete at the Division III level and I
    tore my patella tendon in my right knee around the end of December 2011.
    My surgery was on March 9, 2012. My doctor released me, allowing me to
    practice with no restrictions on September 25, 2012. I practiced for one
    week and had a major set back and sat out for about a month. After a
    month passed, I came back for one practice and started limping a lot. I
    took a week off and came back again and practiced 2 days in a row and
    was experiencing increased pain. The next week, I tried running on my
    own and my knee has not been responding. In the beginning of the year, I
    was going to the weight room on my own, but the trainers had no idea,
    but now I am working with them a lot. The pain has increased a lot. I
    also have not played in a game. I’m not sure if I will be able to get my
    year back simply because my doctor said I am cleared with no
    restrictions. As of now, I have not been practicing and am trying to
    figure out what I can do. Will I be eligible for a medical red shirt?

    • Your case sounds like one what would be eligible for a medical red shirt, but the final decision will come from the NCAA with the help of your athletic department. I would contact the athletic department at your school and let them know you want to petition for a medical red shirt. They should be able to take you through the process. Good luck!

  5. I went to a juco in (2011). I wrestled in one tournament and left school for personal reasons. I went back last fall (2012) and redshirted. I wrestled in one open tournament and injured my knee. It didnt need surgery but the slight tear and sprained ligiment put me out 10-12 weeks. This is the entire season as redshirts can not compete in dual meets or nationals. Where the injury occured during a redshirt season, could a medical hardship be granted essentially giving me 3 full seasons of eligibility plus a redshirt?

  6. In college softball what is considered the “season”? As most schools will play 4-7 games in the fall with no official records being kept and none of the games counting towards any conference qualifications. Compared to the spring where they will play 45-60 games and the College World Series at stake. Can the student athlete be red shirted although she played in 4 games in the fall, however had a season ending injury prior to playing any games in the spring when the “real season began”?

  7. I was a track and field athlete at the JUCO level and I competed my first year, redshirted my second year, and competed my third year, leaving me with 2 season left. Now I am at a division 2 school and I might’ve torn my labrum which will require surgery. Can I get a medical redshirt for this, even though I’ve already used my redshirt, which will ultimately grant me 6 season (4 competition seasons)?

  8. my son plays football at a DI FCS school. He redshirted his freshman season He played the next 3 seasons without any problems. His Senior year (5th) he suffered a season ending injury in fall camp and missed the entire season. The compliance office applied for a medical hardship waiver which was granted by the conference. They said because it was his 5th year they would have to apply for a 6th year with the NCAA. His 6th year was denied because he did not have 2 years of hardship. We have appealed and are waiting for an answer from the NCAA. I don’t understand why he had to apply for a 6th year. If this injury had occurred any year other than his senior year he would only have had to apply for a medical hardship waiver and have that season of eligibility restored which would still be 6 years. Why is the process different? They should only need to restore his season of eligibility. Can you help me understand?

    • Here is the answer from our NCAA expert:

      “He needs the sixth year because of the two eligibility limits in Division I. The medical hardship waiver is about his 4 seasons of competition, to get a season lost to injury back. The sixth year waiver is about his five year clock. Because he was injured in his fifth year and is trying to get the season back, he needs an extension of his five-year clock in order to be able to use the year he is getting back.

      Technically, he did not even need the medical hardship waiver, because he never played his fifth year. So he did not need to apply to get the year back. What the conference did was certify that he missed the season due to injury, which is normally done solely in anticipation of a sixth year waiver.

      So to sum up, he actually only needs one waiver because he has only used three seasons of competition, but his five-year clock has expired. Unfortunately sixth-year waivers require two seasons where the athlete could not participate due to circumstances beyond his control. His second redshirt would count, but if his first redshirt was his or the coaches’ decision, he is unlikely to get the waiver.”

      • What if that first redshirt is a result of a transfer? We have a similar case where my son played his freshman season, transferred his sophomore season and redshirted the mandatory one year, junior season he played without incident, this season he suffered a season ending injury during the first game. He will seek a 6th year but are you suggesting he may not get it due to not being injured 2 years? He would get the medical waiver for this season but would need the 6th year to get this season back. So did unread your reply correctly that he may not get the 6th year due to not being injured 2 years, but the mandatory transfee redshirt would count or would not count? He is div 1 football.

  9. I was a basketball player at a JUCO, and in late September I got a concussion. It was so so serious that I was unable to attend classes for the rest of the semester and had to drop all classes and recieved only one credit hr. The next semester I enrolled at a local college and I am feeling better. My previous coach had called the local NAIA college and told the coach good things about me and now there is some interest and I may have a chance to play again. The problem is that after this spring semester I will only have a total of 14 credit hrs. I know I will have to take some summer classes to get caught up, but do I have to have the required 24 hrs. before this coming fall to be eligible to play?

    I have plenty of doctor bills and have taken plenty of tests to show the concussion is legit. I know my previous coach will also testify that the concussion was severe. I am worried about the 24 hrs before this coming fall and don’t know if it attainable. That would mean that I would have to figure out how to get 10 hrs. this summer. I don’t know if the local college coach will give scholarship for a player that will not be eligible. Please help with any infomation.

    • I would talk to the coach at the NAIA school and let them know the situation. At this point you are going to want them (the NAIA coach) to tell you want to do. Get your transcripts to him and see exactly what you are going to need to be eligible.

  10. I started school in 2008 and graduated in three years. During that time, I faced medical hardship due to complications from diabetes, as well as my mother becoming disabled. Would I be able to apply for a sixth year while in graduate school?

    • David Frank

      It’s possible. Have you talked to the coach at the school you are attending for grad school? You will want to get started as soon as possible on the medical/hardship waiver. Talk to your coach and athletic department, you won’t be able to apply for a waiver on your own. Good luck.

  11. My son is a freshman D1 athlete in a major sport and has a medical condition that requires surgery. He was diagnosed with the condition at his physical prior to the start of the school year. The doctor wanted to do the surgery then, but since there is a two-month recovery period, my son wanted to wait until next summer. The doctor said that was fine, as long as the condition didn’t worsen. It did and the doctor said he shouldn’t wait. My son scheduled the surgery and his coaches told him he was going to redshirt. An injury to another player has led the coaches to saying my son may play prior to his surgery even though there are only a handful of games. I know he can apply for a medical waiver, but he may not return to this school; he may bounce-back to a JC. It appears that only his current school can apply for the medical waiver, but he may not be attending there anymore. When is a medical waiver applied for and granted or denied? Although I would prefer to be completely above board, I’m wondering whether my son should wait on telling his coaches he won’t return until he finds out if he has been granted the medical waiver.

    • David Frank

      I would strongly encourage your son not to play this year before surgery. Medical waivers can be applied for years later, they don’t have to be done the year you are injured. Also, you generally do not get a medical waiver until after you have used your red shirt. The misnomer about medical waivers are that if you are injured you can get the waiver. There are more circumstances than that, most notably, that you are applying for a sixth year of eligibility (after playing four years, plus using your red shirt year) Unfortunately, there is not set timeline on waiver decisions, but generally they take several months.

      My advice is to use your red shirt year this year (don’t play) and don’t focus on the waiver process until if/when he needs it for a sixth year of eligibility.

  12. I originally played two seasons at a Juco with no problems. I then transferred to a NCAA D1 school in which I had a severe ankle injury. This should have been a season ending injury with bone chips into my ankle. I feel our training room staff as well as the coaching staff mishandled the situation and never informed me of options. I felt that in my situation since the season had started it was better to try and play on it anyways without having a corrective surgery for the pain considering I couldn’t redshirt at this point. It was in the first half of the season, and I ended up playing very low minutes the rest of the season anyways. I since transferred and completed my eligibility at the end of the season in 2012. Are there any options to regain a year of eligibility or play again? Thanks for your help.

    • David Frank

      It doesn’t sounds like you have any options because you played. Possibly, had you not played one of those years because of the injury. Sorry for the bad news, best of luck.

  13. My son was diagnosed with a severe form of mono which led to complications right before the beginning of the 2012-13 regular season. He is a DIII basketball player and a freshman. He did participate in the pre-season but then missed 10 weeks of practice/games. He was cleared to begin practicing in mid-January but was not deemed healthy enough to play on the varsity. Instead, he participated for a few minutes in 5 or 6 “jv” games. I call them “JV” games because they were more like scrimmages with no statistics being kept although they were against other schools like community colleges, club teams or other DIII jv teams. There is no formal jv league or season. He was never able to play for the varsity this season as he was not healthy enough to do so. He has medical documentation supporting his illness and that he was not cleared to even practice until mid-January. Can he get a medical redshirt year.

    • David Frank

      It is possible, your son is going to need to work with high college coach and athletic department in order to get the waiver filed and ultimately approved. Have him approach his coach or someone within the athletic department for help. Good luck.

  14. sports12

    Hi, i am a division one athlete that is in season right now. at this moment i am dealing with a lot of family issues and my coach has given me a leave of absence so I can deal with what is going on because I was becoming too overwhelmed with everything that is going on. I have competed in the first 3 games already but have missed about 4 for being on leave, and will be missing a good chunk of the games. I am seeing a counselor and all now to help guide me through getting mentally okay. do you know what I would need to do to get a redshirt for this year?

  15. I am currently being recruited to play for a D1 school. I was in a serious accident after my senior year of highschool in 2010 that kept me out of the game for about 2 1/2 years. I went away to a d3 school that had a football team so technically my clock started. I had to leave after my first semester in 2010 and then enrolled as a full time student in a community college and was a full time student for 3 more semesters. In total, I was enrolled full time for 4 semesters. Is there any way possible that a D1 school can appeal or go thru the waiver process so that I can have 3 years of eligibility left for D1 football.

    • David Frank

      The most important thing is that you find a program that wants to have you play for them really badly. Programs are only willing to file waivers and attempt to get years of eligibility back for athletes they really want to have on the team. Are you talking to any coaches now? Are there DI coaches recruiting you?

  16. I will be requesting a graduate student transfer waiver for 2013-2014, because I have transferred once during my freshman year. I incurred an injury prior transferring and I only played in 7 games before transferring. The season consisted of 30 games. I have one year of eligibility left which will conclude my fourth year. I did a year in residence, but I was in a boot the second half of the season which was my first semester in my year I had to sit out. Can I get a medical hardship waiver for my freshman year 2010-2011 because I only played in 7 games and I had an injury that occurred during prior to my transfer to the second D1 school where I will graduate in May 2013 & my scholarship will not be renewed. I’m 3 years in to my 5 year clock.

    • David Frank

      I doubt you will get the year of eligibility where you played 7 games. The most important thing is that you get enrolled and on the team where you will be playing your final year of eligibility. Once you are there, the coaches and athletic department will do everything they can in order to get you another year of eligibility. Good luck.

  17. Justin Kittel

    I finished 2 seasons of D1 juco baseball last year. Four games into my second year, I was hit by a pitch that broke my arm. I have a doctors note still that says my surgery was on February 28th and I was not allowed to return to sports for at least three months, well after the end of the season. My coach told me he would take care of the situation. I had already signed with a university, where I currently play. I just found out a week before this season that my red shirt was never pushed through. Is there a way for me to go back and appeal the process since it’s barely been a year? I don’t want to lose a whole year of eligibility because of my coach.

    • David Frank

      I would contact your athletic department and find out what the process would be. You can also contact the Juco athletic department and tell them your story. Good luck.

  18. Patrick George

    If I was hurt the 6th game of the season and diagnosed with a torn meniscus but played anyways minamal minutes and under excruciating pain because the team need me shouldn’t the school be obligated?I played no more than 8 minutes a game 4 game over the limit but each game was a week away so i rested and tried to force the act instead of sitting out.I stopped before the winter break and got surgery that week. Did not participate in one conference game. The rule is 20% and I was at 34% with 7-8 min in those four games i played which they practically made me play in. now my year is in danger of being returned. shouldnt i get it back?

    • David Frank

      It will come down to a judgement call from the NCAA. It sounds like an unfortunate situation and something too many athletes experience. The pressure to continue to play is hard to ignore and many times the schools aren’t doing what might be best for the athlete. Sorry to hear about your situation, hopefully the NCAA rules in your favor.

  19. I am a Division III baseball player. I appeared in 9 games so far and just tore my hamstring. Am I eligible for a medical red-shirt for this year. I am a sophomore.

    • David Frank

      You want to check with your coach and athletic department. Hamstrings are a tricky injury for medical shirts because you would need a doctor to diagnose it as sever enough to be season ending. Again, your best resource will be your coach and athletic department. Best of luck.

  20. I missed the fall tennis season because of a concussion. The fall season is very short and not very important when compared to the spring season. Is it possible to redshirt that fall season and use it for a fifth year spring season?

  21. I play D1 lacrosse and I tore my abdomin 5 games in, I did the math and I was at 38 percent cause I played 5 games, but the fifth game I was somewhat forced and didn’t play that much minutes. I meet the criteria for the other 3 though and I didn’t even play a conference game. Any chance I can get a medical red shirt from the board?

  22. Dinah Gray

    My daughter is 4 games over the 20% she broke her tibia and had to have rod and screws to repair it. She is a senior. It occurred during final game of spring trip. She had played only 4 conference games. The injury occurred as a result of a collision with the catcher; she was 5-8 feet up the line. It was ruled obstruction. Is their any hope of red shirt?

    • David Frank

      The rules are pretty black and white around the 20% rules. Your best resource would be the athletic department and specifically the compliance office at her school. She should contact them and see if there are any special waivers available to her. Best of luck.

  23. Has any D1 football player ever received a waiver and got a medical redshirt for an injury that occured in the second half of a season? The team was trying to redshirt him but had injuries so they put him in. My son played less than 1 quarter…approx 15 plays in the second to last game of the season. He was hit and seperated his shoulder ending his season. Why do they have this 2nd half of the season rule? What difference does it make if they play 15 plays in the first game or the second to last game. It is not his fault that the coach put him in and he loses a whole year of eligibility over 15 plays.

    • David Frank

      The second half rule is to prevent coaches from taking advantage of the medical red shirt rule. If the rule wasn’t in place, programs could keep players on the roster, play them sparingly and then simply claim an injury near the end of the year and get their full year of eligibility left.

      It sounds like your son’s coach didn’t do a very good job of explaining to your son the implications of him playing at that point in the season. It was very selfish of the program to use a players year of eligibility that late into the season. I am sorry to hear about the injury, I hope he can make a full recovery and play out his remaining eligibility.

  24. My son plays baseball for a JUCO, this is his second year. He got injured the 3rd week of season play with an ACL injury so is out the rest of the season. They had played 2 schools so far when he was injured, so 8 season games. What are his chances of getting Medical Red Shirted he is going to a D1 school next year so will possibly be ready to play next February, if the recovery goes as planned.

    • David Frank

      As long as he didn’t play more than 20% of the season and didn’t play in the second half of the season there is a good chance he could get the year back. Have him work with his coach and athletic department right away to find out everything he is going to need from the doctors in order to get the medical shirt.

  25. Hi, I played for a junior college for two years but my freshman year I was I was forced to play junior varsity but if I was out of state I would of been able to take a medical red shirt. I was reading somewhere the other day and it said as of august 1st 2010 if you played JV in college you wouldn’t be charged a year of eligibility. Is that true? Is there any way I can get my year back?

    • David Frank

      I know the rule you are referring to is true for NAIA but I am not sure about NCAA. The most important thing to remember is that you have coaches at four year universities who want to recruit you. If you have a coach at a four year school who wants you to be on their team, they are going to do everything they can to get you every year of eligibility. Good luck.

  26. My daughter has suffered a concussion in her freshman year of softball at a D3 school. It is her 3rd concussion in 8 months. She has played only three games. The school is going to file for redshirt status, especially since the doctor has said to not play the rest of this spring. In the meantime what are rules regarding attending practice and traveling with the team to games, to try and remain a part of the team?

    • David Frank

      The rules would be the same for any red shirt. You can practice and be part of the team but not play. If you have any doubt as to whether or not she should be doing something, check with the athletic department or coach.

  27. Vanessa

    My sister is a senior in HS she had great potential on scholarships that were going to be offered to her she’s an all around sports athlete. Unfortunately she was a victim to a horrific accident where she was ran over by a car caused by intoxication assault. Is there any programs or grants that u knw of that she could benefit from for college purposes being that she cant finish the year and pursue sports due to her injuries?

    • David Frank

      I do not know of any programs that would help her without her having been previously signed by a school for a scholarship. Her best options regarding the help an athletic department could provide would be to find a program that is willing to sign her once she is recovered. They will then outline what she needs to do to maximize her eligibility. Keep in mind, you can sit out one full year after you graduate before starting college and still maintain all of your eligibility. Best of luck in a difficult situation.

  28. Corcorty

    I’m a D1 athlete. I played the first four games of a 14 game season. Missed the fifth for a broken hand. Played in the sixth game with a broken hand, but suffered a concussion in that game.

    What are my chances for the medical red shirt? Our compliance office said its somewhere 50-50 since it could be seen as a reinjury.

    • David Frank

      Your compliance office will know best. By the letter of the law, you played in more than 20% of the season. However, if your compliance office knows of a possible loop-hole with it being a repeat injury, your best opportunity will be with them.

  29. Tracy Washington

    In 2012 my son was a true freshmen qb at FCS (D1-AA) school. The starting qb was hurt before the season started which moved my son up the depth chart to backup qb and he played in 8 games. The previously injured qb received a medical redshirt so he has two more years (hes a jr). And if i understand the rules correctly, my son has three years since he played last year. My question is this. Can my son redshirt his sophomore year and still have three years of eligibility? If not, what are his options for transferring without losing another year??

    • David Frank

      The way eligibility works is you have 5 years to play 4 years. This means at any point you can sit out a year, which is known at a red shirt. So yes, he can use his red shirt this year and have three years left. If he was going to transfer, you would want to use it on a year when he could is red shirt year on the year he sits out. Good luck.

  30. I am a D1 athlete and play baseball. I only had 9 appearance as a pitcher and got injured on our 38th game of our BP by getting hit by a line drive on my right arm(throwing arm). I am seeing a doctor and getting examined. we have 19 more games to go, but I was wondering if I can still get medical redshirt? I have not played more than 20% of the total games and this is a season ending injury by not being able to throw. Could you let me know if this is possible?

    • David Frank

      I would check with your coach and athletic department as well. That said, It is playing in 20% of games or any game after half way through the season. It sounds like you played in a game past the half way point so most likely you wont be eligible. Again, check with your coach and athletic department.

      • Thank you for your reply, but I still do not understand fully. I will check with the athletic department, but you are saying that my last appearance was our 30th game (9th appearance), which is 2 more games(overall of 56 games) after the half and I got injured on our 38th game. If we make it to playoffs of our conference, wouldn’t that extend the total games allowing me to be in boundaries of half the season game appearance? My doctor told me today that I have 6 weeks off which ends in late May and I am scheduled for MRI and prescribed medication for my arm. If my injury happened after the half way point of the season is that still possible? Thank you so much for your help.

  31. Anonymous

    My daughter is going to have to miss her senior year due to injury. If the program is already at it’s committed number of scholarships for next year is there anything in place to help her financially for her 5th year?

    • David Frank

      If the school is going to pull her scholarship due to injury she is gong to want to find out if she is still considered an athlete at the school. If she is no longer an athlete other forms of financial aid available through the financial aid department could be made available. One of the difficult things is that many forms of financial aid are not available to athletes because it would count against scholarship totals.

  32. Anonymous

    I am a division 3 athlete and ii am a junior with one year of eligibily remaining I redshirted in the past while I was at junior college so I used a total of 8 full time semesters while I was at community college I wrestled in two events in the first half and was injured and my doctor said I could not finish my season and I got surgery in early december. After my surgery it was hard to get around so in the spring I did not attend school. Would I be able to get a hardship waiver to exceed the ten semester rule as I was injured in the first half while wrestling only less than 30 percent of the season. Also by having documentation that the doctor ruled that it was a season ending injury. Would my waiver be affected as I was unable to attend school that spring.

    • David Frank

      You are going to need the help of an athletic department in order to file for a hardship waiver. Your first step should be to find a university interested in having you play for them. Once you have that, the coach and the athletic department can help you begin the paper work needed to try and get the waiver. Best of luck.

  33. Anonymous

    I am leaving a Division 2 school after my freshman year and I am eligible for a Medical Redshirt. I am going to a JUCO to try to get recruited for another school. Which school requests for the medical redshirt for me? The D2 or the JUCCO

    • David Frank

      It is whatever school you will be losing the year of eligibility at. For example, if you played your freshman year at the D2 and will not be playing at the JUCO because of the injury, then JUCO files the paper work. That said, you need all of your documentation regarding your injury. Doctors notes, physical therapy records and any documentation from the D2 school. Good luck.

  34. Anonymous

    I redshirted my freshman year at a junior college (2011-12). Due to academic reasons, I was released from my scholarship, meaning I had to attend a local junior college a whole year in order to get my grades back to where they need to be. A couple of weeks ago I tore my ACL, which required immediate surgery, and may force me to sit out for another full season in order to properly rehab my injury, which would make two full seasons without being on a college roster. I plan to try out for a local Division 1 college basketball team once I have fully recovered. Because I have not played a game for a college team yet, is it still possible for me to apply for the medical redshirt in order to have at least three years of eligibility? I should also note that I was not a full-time student when I sat out this past year, and I likely will not be a full-time student this upcoming year if I need to sit out.

    • David Frank

      Your years of eligibility are only going to matter if you are trying to play a fourth year. What you should do is get all of your paper work in order (doctors letters, document your rehab, etc.). Then, once you are playing at the DI school, go to the athletic department and find out what you will need to do in order to get the additional year.

  35. Anonymous

    My son is a player at a divison 3 school. He tore his ACL in March of this year playing an intermural activity/The coaching staff and trainer did not give him an MRI and when he returned home we got him the MRI and found the extent of his damage. He will have surgery now in July and he will be out this season 8-12 months. He has played his freshman and sophomore years. His school does not have a graduate program. He would like to start his graduate program at another school and play. Can he contact another school if he receives his medical redshirt? What is the protocol for dealing with this situation? Any help you could give in this situation would be greatly appreciated!

    • David Frank

      You have 5 years to play four years. You only need a medical shirt if you are looking for a sixth year of eligibility. In that case, you need to keep all of your paper work documenting your injury and rehab. Once you have transferred to a school for your graduate degree, you will want to work with the athletic department there to get the sixth year and medical red shirt waiver.

  36. I played JUCO basketball my freshmen year college but at the end of the year I tore my ACL and was forced to sit out the rest of the season..after the year was over I ended up having my surgery when I went home but I was forced to stay home for the next 3 years due to complications with my knee which were very serious..I’m finally going back to JUCO to play my Sophomore year after 3 years of sitting out..I wanted to know if I get a hardship waiver at this JUCO..will that also give me three years at a university after JUCO so that I would be able to get my degree..or does my eligibility run out at this final year of JUCO that I have??…what are the rules for red shirting at a JUCO and then going to a university and how does it effect your eligibility?

    • David Frank

      What you are looking for is three years of a medical hardship waiver, this is very difficult. Sometimes athletes get two years, I have never heard of three. What you need to do is begin playing at the JUCO and work with the athletic department to get the paper work started for your waivers. Each year you are going to need to apply for the additional year of a waiver, so when you transfer to a four year, you will work with the athletic department there to get a 7th year.

      I hope this helps, it is a very complex process and you will need to work with you athletic department, you will not be able to do it on your own. Good luck.

  37. Question regarding redshirts. I played baseball for 2 years at a junior college and signed at a NAIA school. At the end of the season I had to have Tommy John surgery. I went to the NAIA school and they red shirted me during my first year there. Rehab took longer than expected and I wasn’t able to play the second season and the school applied for and I received a second medical redshirt. That NAIA school couldn’t give any scholarship money so I transferred to another NAIA school in the area with permission from the 1st NAIA school. I played 1 season for the second NAIA school and they checked my eligibility for the second season. They were told that I wouldn’t be eligible for the second year because of the 10 semester rule. Anything I can do to get an exception to the 10 semester rule since I was unable to play for 2 seasons because of my injury?

    • David Frank

      Your school would know best. Sometimes at NCAA schools you can get a 6th year. NAIA school operate under a different 10 semester rule. Sorry, best of luck.

  38. Question I’m pretty confused about. I played JUCO Football 2010-2011 then i redshirted the following season 2011-2012 and this past year I transfered to another JUCO in the summer I torn my MCL and possibly LCL this past season the coach knew but we never told the trainers now I’m trying to get my year back from last year season 2012-2013 but the coach is denying it because I got hurt in the summer and didn’t make his fall roster, should I go to our athletic department?

    • David Frank

      I would only worry about getting a sixth year if you have used all five years of your eligibility. Right now just focus on getting healthy and getting back on a team. Once you are playing again, you can work with the athletic department to see what you need to petition for a 6th year.

  39. I graduated 2010 and recieved a scholarship to play football at a Division 2 school as a runningback. I unfortunatley was horse collared and dislocated my big toe during two-a-days and was unable to return for the season.i ended up becoming redshirted but im not sure if that would be considered medical or just a regular redshirt. Im going to be walking on at a D1 university this Fall and am going to have to sit out a year due to transfer rules. Would i be able to be redshirted again if the coaching staff approves of my ability? and if not would i be able to apply for a medical waiver or a fifth yr due to my injury sustained freshman yr?

    • David Frank

      If you make the team you can attempt to get a sixth year due to your first year injury. Once you are on the team, go to the athletic department and compliance staff and see what you need to do. Good luck.

  40. Days before my freshman year of college started I tore my acl. I attended an naia school where I was enrilled in 12 credits but quickly dropped to 9 due to my injury and depression. At first semesters end I transfered to a juco where I also started at 12 credits and withdrew from classes. I rehabbed my knee all year and the next fall I transferred to a diff naia school. My first year there I was unable to play because my knee was still bad. I had to get cortizone shots in it because of pain. So therefore I have been n college 2 years and haven’t played. The following 3 years I participated in varsity basketball. Any chanceI could get a medical hardship for my first 2 yrs missed at naia level?

    • David Frank

      NAIA rules are different, the rules above are for NCAA colleges. You are going to want to contact the people who handle eligibility at your school and see what your options are.

  41. My son is entering his freshman year at a Junior College as a scholarshiped baseball player. Unfortuntly he had tommy John surgery the summer before he started school. He is elegible for a medical redshirt his freshmen year. If he transfers to a D1 program his second year (academic sophomore) and The coach chooses to redshirted him for proformance improvement , would that still give him 4 more years of eligibility.

    • David Frank

      It might be possible for him to get a 6th year of eligibility. You are going to want to keep all of his medical evaluations while recovering from TJ. The first thing you should do once you have committed to the DI school is meet with the athletic department to ensure you will have all of the paper work needed for the sixth year. Best of luck in your recovery.

  42. My daughter tore her ACL in a playoff game in high school. She is going to a D3 school to play soccer in fall13. She will not be released by the doctor until mid October. Her coach wants to redshirt her for 13. Can she still practice and go with the team for out of town games?

    • David Frank

      Your college coach is going to be your best resource for that answer. Some programs have different rules about who can travel with the team and while you might be able to, maybe you won’t travel because the program can’t afford it. Best of luck in your recovery.

  43. Lauren

    My senior year during my fall cross country season I developed compartment syndrome. Come January I had to undergo the fasciotomy surgery to get all my compartments released on my right leg. I was unable to even start running until October the same year. And by that time I was on a division 1 track and cross country team. My whole freshman year I was unable to compete due to this severe injury. I know most freshmen redshirt, but I am just curious if I could get a medical redshirt for at least the fall cross country season my freshman year and possibly my track seasons too. I am looking to continue my running in grad school, so I am looking down this avenue so I can gain possible scholarship down the road in grad school. So would it be possible to receive a medical red shirt for any season my freshman year? Oh and by the way I am going into my sophomore year now. Thanks!

    • David Frank

      It is certainly possible. Go meet with your athletic department and compliance office. See what paper work you need to complete in order to petition for your possible sixth year/medical red shirt. Best of luck in your recovery.

  44. D1 Baseball Redshirt

    Here is the situation:
    * Elbow began hurting in late January 2103 and didn’t throw much throw much thru Feb and March. He was seeing the head trainer thru this period. He did not see a doctor. Elbow was still hurt during the April and May but not enough to not play.

    * He had 14 at bats (DH) during the first part of the year. He never played the field at all. He played less than 20% of the games.

    * The coach told him at the end of the season (coach/player debrief) the reason he didn’t play him during the last part of the year was he was going to try to get him a redshirt. The coach now says this:

    “The redshirt is a process that can’t be filed until after your senior season. Because you did play in games this year, there is a process that must be followed. But it can’t be filed until your eligibility is exhausted.”

    Is this true about waiting to your eligibility is exhausted before you can file for a redshirt?

    • David Frank

      What the coach is calling a redshirt is actually called a medical redshirt. You use this type of redshirt to get a sixth year of eligibility. So at the end of your fifth year (after your normal redshirt) you file with the NCAA for a sixth year based on the year you were injured. What the coach is telling you is accurate, best of luck in your recovery.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks. I have now transferred to a JUCO school Spring 2014 and trying to persuade my previous D1 school to file for the medical redshirt and they won’t saying that there is not enough evidence now to file to NCAA. I think the issue is the trainer did not keep records of my rehap work in Spring 2013 and not attending there now they have no desire to help me. Do I call the school’s AD or call the conference for recommendation? I’m sure if I was there they would help me.

  45. Luke Dickson

    I received a scholarship for basketball at a d-2 school. I have broken my hand and am considering applying for a red shirt wavier. I am entering my junior year. Will I have to pay for my 5th year of education if I am granted the red shirt? Will my scholarship be extended? Thank you for any insights you can offer.

    • David Frank

      Medical red shirts allow you to get a sixth year of eligibility. You don’t technically apply for one until your fifth year of eligibility is done. You are allowed to received a scholarship as long as you have eligibility. That means you could get a scholarship your fifth year if the school will offer it, most likely they won’t as they like to use their scholarships for athletes who are able to play that year. Best of luck in your recovery.

  46. My son fractured his elbow the very first practice game of baseball at the beginning of his college freshman year, fall semester – actually school had not even started yet. He was not on scholarship because even though he was being heavily recruited and scholarship offers, he didn’t decide to go to this JUCO until right before school started and there wasn’t any scholarship money left, even though they wanted to early sign him. He transferred to another JUCO on a full baseball scholarship right after that fall semester ended and was in the final stages of recovering. At the new JUCO, he was used as a pitcher only and participated in exactly 20% of the season games and took a hard line drive to the ankle in a practice game for the upcoming playoffs. This injury did not allow him to participate in any more practices, practice games, or any of the playoff games. Is he eligible for a medical redshirt? Also, he is transferring to a NAIA school, not on a scholarship (because school is about to start and there is not any scholarship money left and he is just deciding to go there – coach says he will have baseball scholarship next year because money will be there). Does he have to sit out a year with or without a medical redshirt?

    • David Frank

      You don’t have to sit our a year when you are going from a JUCO to a four year school. He will be eligible to play and receive a scholarship right away (or as soon as they are available).

      Regarding the medical red shirt, he would not be eligible. The rules are 20% of the games or any games after the half way point in the season. Meaning, if he pitched in a game that was during the second half of the season, that season will count. Best of luck and good luck at the new school.

  47. Adam Reynolds

    I play lacrosse at a division III school, but my first game out last season I tore my PCL and was unable to play. I graduated with my Bachelors degree, but would like to go back to get another degree but I am then considered a non-matriculated student. I would also like to get my final year of lacrosse in. Anyone know if there is a waiver for being able to do this?

    • David Frank

      You will need the help of an athletic department. The order of things that need to happen in order to get a medical red shirt is 1) be part of a college team then 2) have the athletic department help you complete the waiver you need. Good luck.

  48. I am an international athlete wanting to attend div 1 college, i have been certified amateurism on me clearing house account for bouth xc and track. However i spent 2 years in Australia injured unable to compete and a spent another 2 years training for Olympic trials and also world cross country. I am nearing the end of my 5 year clock this year being my last year which i could compete however I am aware i can gain eligibility for both the injury and taking a year out to prepare for trials. how do i go about this?

    • David Frank

      You need to be running for a university and they can help you with the waivers you need. You will not be able to get the waivers finished without their help. Your first step should be getting accepted to a university, beginning your college career and then you can work on your waivers. Best of luck.

      • this would be my 6th year sorry is it possible to gain atleast one more or 2 more years of eligibility due to my injuries, im out atm with 3 stress fractures in my legs and had another fracture injury 2 yeras ago. could these both give me 2 yers of medical redshirt waivers? i know ill need college help for that but is it possible to still compete for atleast 1 year?

        • David Frank

          It is highly unlikely you will get a 6th and 7th year. Again, the first step is having a coach that really wants you to run for them and they will have the athletic department help you. You don’t need to worry about the possibility of a 6th/7th year until you find a coach who wants you to run for them.

  49. my daughter is at a d-1 school and was injured right at the start of the season; she has not played in any games or practiced and it will be 2-3 weeks before she can do so– should she medical redshirt in order to preserve eligibility? her school unfortunately does not have a graduate school but can she play for another d1 or d3 school that does have one if she redshirts?


    • David Frank

      You want to makes sure she works with the athletic department to document her injury and recovery so that she can apply for a sixth year of eligibility when the time comes. The way medical shirts work is, once you are done with your 5 years to play four years, you apply for an additional year via a medical waiver for the year you were injured. Best of luck in her recovery.

  50. My daughter was in her second year at a D1 SOFTBALL school and played the fall season. She got sick over the winter and her Dr stopped her from playing and didn’t play in the spring her full schedule. She submitted paperwork but was told by her compliance because she played 5 games in the fall she wasn’t eligible for a medical redshirt. This after her coach told her it was ok. Any advice?? she has since left to play at a d2 school but want to play for 3 more years.

    • David Frank

      She is going to want to seek the help of her athletic department at her DII school. Find out what her waiver options are. She might be able to petition for the year back on the grounds she was given bad advice from the old coach, but again I don’t know the specific process she needs to follow to get that done. Best of luck.

  51. David H

    Our son is a redshirt sophomore at D1 school and was hurt during spring practice and will most likely loss the 2013 football season. Is a medical hardship waiver available to him? And if so what is the process?

    • David Frank

      What he needs to do is work with the people in the athletic department and make sure he does everything to document the injury and rehab. That documentation will be used to apply for the medical hardship waiver when the time comes.

      • Anonymous

        He has already used his redshirt his freshman year and we have been lead to believe that because of the timing of the injury which was spring practice. That it may be difficult to receive a additional year if we lose 2013???

      • We have been told that it could be difficult to receive a medical because of the timing of the injury. Our son has already been redshirted his freshman year and will only have one remaining year if a medical redshirt is not granted. In answer to your reply we are documenting the entire process to maintain all information that may be required upon application.

  52. My son is a D1-IIA football player. He is a redshirt Junior. He has been injured basically since the start of his college football career. At this point though, he tore all 3 ligaments in his knee (April 2013)spring game. He had surgery which of course put him out for the 2013 football season. But he ended up getting academically ineligible after the summer session. Due to not completing the percentage to your major. I am not sure what that is. So right now he is out for both, the season ending injury and academic issues. He will be eligible again at the end of the academic year. Can he still apply for a medical redshirt due to this injury happening while he was eligible?

  53. I graduated high school NCAA ineligible, I then enrolled full time to a D-1 and a completed a year while not playing any sports. The next fall I enrolled into a junior college and played 1 season of football and in the spring I ran track. This is my last year here there are players with more experience and I was wondering if I could redshirt to save a year and transfer to a different junior college . I signed a contract with the junior college that stated that I could not play for another junior college and if I did want to play for another junior college I would have to sit out a year. Did I burn my redshirt by starting my clock at the university?

    • David Frank

      I don’t think so, but it depends on what you did during that first year of school when you were competing. I would suggest not sitting out another year unless you know for certain you have your first year of eligibility. Work with your athletic department to make sure, that is your best option for finding an answer.

  54. Hello, I was recruited by a d2 school and was injured during camp before the season started and the coach spoke to me and gave me a lecture on sending me back hom. So I was sent home had surgery recovered abd came back for spring ball but missed the season. Could I still be acfepted for a medical hardship waiver. Please and thank you

    • David Frank

      It is possible. The most important thing is begin playing again (if you’re healthy) and then work with the athletic department to see what you can do to get your medical shirt on your 5th year if need be. Best of luck.

  55. I play basketball for a D3 school and I am starting my freshman year. In my senior year of high school I tore cartilage in my knee, but I was able to finish the year. This summer I injured the knee further and my doctor says I will need surgery to repair the damage, but he agreed to let me try to play this season and have the surgery after the season if I don’t injure it any further. Would it be possible for me to start the season and see how my knee responds before I opt out for surgery this season? I would love to play this year, but if my knee gives me too much trouble I don’t want to lose a whole year of eligibility.

    • David Frank

      I would be very careful about starting the year with a known injury and then trying to get a medical shirt if you decide it is too bad. Go to your athletic program and make sure you know exactly what you need in order to apply for the medical shirt and how much time you can play or practice before having to decide. Best of luck.

  56. My son was injured the week before the football season started. He is a senior and just now allowed to dress but has to work his way back to first string. He was greyshirted his freshman year, will be graduating this year and heading to 3 years of grad school with 1 year of eligibility. I think he should grey shirt because he may be lucky to play 2 games this year. is he still able to grey shirt and save 2 years of football or will he not be able to do that because it would be going to 12 semesters and he is taking 14 credits this semester.

    • David Frank

      Has your son red-shirted? It sounds like he can still use his red-shirt this year and preserve the second year of eligibility. He could then go to grad school and have two years left to play. Of course, you will want to check with your academic official in the athletic department and make sure this is the case.

  57. I rolled my ankle prior to season opener in practice and it swelled up huge sat out then played week three and hurt my other ankle in practice the next week then played in that game. But now I’m out intil it gets better. Can I medical redshirt?

    • David Frank

      Possible. Are you working with your athletic department and athletic trainer to get the necessary paper work taken care of? You will need their help if you can get a medical red-shirt.

  58. I have had ankle injuries for years. I got hurt before my third game of the season and my ankle is unstable. Does this count as a season ending injury or does it have to be worse? I went to the doctor and he gave me a note saying I was unable to play until further notice but the athletic department wont count that since they do not feel it is so serious. what can I do?

    • David Frank

      If your athletic department will not help you, you will need to continue to gather information stating you are unable to play. I would get a letter from your athletic trainer, along with your doctor and take it back to your coach and athletic department.

  59. William

    My son is a junior at a D 3 school playing football. In preseason he tore his meniscus and had surgery two days before their first game. Can he get a medical red-shirt for this year? He doesn’t feel he will be 100 percent before the end of the season.

    • David Frank

      Yes he can as long as he doesn’t play in any games in the second half of this year. Use the text above as a guide for the conversation you need to have with your athletic department to get all of the documentation taken care of. Best of luck in your recovery.

  60. Jennifer

    My friend’s son is a freshman playing football at a Division I school. He was tackled in the third game (out of 13) and hurt his knee (tore the MCL, I believe). Apparently three weeks after the injury, his coach made him run even though he said he wasn’t ready, and the knee ballooned up again and the doctor says he’s back at square one. I believe he should be eligible for a medical redshirt, although his dad seems resigned to the fact that he lost a year of competition. Can you provide some guidance? Thank you for your assistance.

    • David Frank

      It’s possible, but you won’t know for until you begin working with the athletic department at your school. I would have the athlete talk to the officials in his athletic department and see what paper work he would need in order to prepare the application for a medical red shirt.

  61. I graduated in 2009 I played 1 game at a Jc, tore my labrum rotator cuff and separated my a/c joint. I had to get surgery as the outcome from the injury ending my season. Family issues arose and I never got a chance to play again, but I also did not take a full 12 units of college again as well. I was granted my medical redshirt for my freshman year, I am now back in shape, family issues solved, and I would like to play football again.i was wondering if my eligibility clock started when I started to play or since I discontinued credits and never truly took a full 12 units if did not start yet. I would like to know if I can still play division 1, division 2 or division 3 or if the only thing I could do is play at a Jc. Thank you

    • David Frank

      It sounds like you have eligibility at a JUCO, DIII and the NAIA level. You might have a year or two of eligibility at the DI or DII level, but you won’t know for sure until the NCAA reviewed your eligibility information. At this point your best bet is to begin contacting coaches at the schools you are interested in and see if you can get a coach to have his compliance officers review you eligibility. Best of luck.

  62. Brianna a

    I’m a sophomore at a d III school and play lacrosse. Fall season of my freshman year I sat out because I broke my thumb. This year I sat out because during the summer I was extremely ill and required surgery in August. Do those 2 semester count as an extra year of legibility? If my doctor does not clear me (she hasn’t cleared me to play yet) can I redshirt spring season even though it hasn’t begun?

    • David Frank

      You are going to want to confer with your athletic department. There is a chance you can get this year back with a medical shirt, but your athletic department will be able to get you a final decision.

  63. Reggie Mitchell

    Greetings David, I am currently enrolled in at D-1 college i have never touched the football field. I was told by the eligibility center that i have 1 year remaining based off the 5 year rule. I was going to walk on last year but i wasn’t medically cleared because of my asthma. Is there anyway that i can get a 6th year if i do not attend grad school until fall 2015? I really would love to have at least 2 years versus just 1.

    • David Frank

      It’s possible. You will need to work with the athletic department at any school you are considering playing for. The key is, get a coach who wants you on their team, they will get their athletic department to do everything they can to get you eligible. Without the help of an athletic department, the NCAA isn’t going to process your 6th year waiver. Best of luck.

  64. I am a division 1 football player and I am currently a RS JR. Last year I tore my ACL and had surgery, I am still not healthy enough to play this year and have not played a down. The other day in practice my knee got worse and has slowed down my comeback. Is there any way I could receive a medical red shirt for this year?

    • David Frank

      It is possible. What you need to do is work with you athletic department to document the injury in preparation for the paper work you would need to file for your sixth year/red shirt year. Contact the officials in your athletic department and get all of the paper work together with them.

  65. my son plays division 2 basketball he tore his rotator cuff in the summer before his freshmen year after rehab he felt better once season started he began to have pain in his shoulder he has played 3 games they are scheduled for 27 is he eligible for medical redshirt

    • David Frank

      It’s possible, he needs to meet with the coach and athletic department to see what his opportunities are. He will need to document the injury and rehab to show he is unable to play. The athletic department staff will know what he needs.

  66. Hello,
    My son attends a Division 3 school and plays football. He was injured in practice the week before the sixth game (Midpoint of the season). He played in only 4 JV games this season. The trainer did not appropriately document when the injury occurred and was reluctant to get him an XRAY and MRI until I called and became involved. After doing this, the team’s doctor and our orthopedic specialist determined it was a season ending injury. He has a torn tendon on his right ankle and an injured muscle. The staff at his college do not want to file a hardship waiver on his behalf because they claim he participated in practice after the midpoint of the season and could have reinjured it despite the fact he was receiving treatments from the college’s medical staff while practicing in pain.
    After more emails and heated discussions with me, the college agreed to submit the information to the Conference Commissioner for his decision but states that they already contacted him and the waiver would be denied.

    My question is if the waiver request is denied, what is the next level of appeal for me? Is there a conference committee I can appeal to in the MAC conference because I can not find anything online and NCAA says the submission of the appeal from the college to them is up to the college.

    • David Frank

      You will have to find a contact within the MAC conference to see what your options will be. I would start with contacting the compliance staff within the conference and see what they say.

  67. Christopher Benjamin

    I have a client who plays for Southern Miss University and was hurt his senior year and only played one game. He missed the entire season and would like to apply for a medical red shirt; however, the university is refusing to submit the application for NCAA consideration. Is there anything that he can do to force their hand. Also give some consideration that he played one year at a junior college and is listed as a red shirt senior according the school’s website; however, he would not be in violation of the 5yr rule because the year he lost was only his fourth.

    • David Frank

      I don’t understand, why does he need the medical redshirt if he still has his fifth year? There is no need to go through all of the paper work for a medical shirt if he is recovering during what would be his redshirt year. You only need the school to apply for a medical shirt if you are trying to get a 6th year of eligibility as well.

  68. Freshman year I played d1aa football. Got concussed in the 3rd game and didn’t play again just dressed. Could I get a waiver for that?
    Sophomore year, I participated in camp for 4 days, injured my shoulder and had returning concussion symptoms from a summer injury (moped wreck) while I was not at school. Left the team due to injury and did not return. Could I get a redshirt for that year?
    Currently am a junior.

      • David Frank

        You probably can’t get a waiver for a concussion. It isn’t generally considered a season ending injury.You would need a doctor to document that your injuries were season ending.

        The first step is getting a college program who wants you to play and then working with them to get an additional year. It might be possible as long as you have doctors who can document your injuries.

  69. My son signed what he assumed was a valid nli with a ncaa div II baseball program in the fall of his senior year of high school. He attended the university and played in 1 contest (1 at bat on the Spring trip) When he approached the coach after the trip with the new knowledge that his original nli was invalid(no one at the dII ever informed him of that fact when they were notified by the conference to do so prior to his attendance. they denied him the opportunity to make another school choice.
    he was removed by the coach from the team when he said he was going to transfer at the end of the year. never played or practiced again. now attends naia any chance he can get that first year back based on the invalid nli and the dII failure to inform prior to attendance

  70. Charles Roberts

    A player received a redshirt year his first getting to his division 1 school, the next season which was his redshirt (junior season) he tore his ACL in the school’s spring game before the season begin. He missed out on the whole season, and was released to practice which was at almost the end of the season there were only 4 or 5 games left. His coach felt that he was not ready to play so therefore he was not given an equal opportunity to play that season which he was forced to sit out the remainder of the season which he did not suit out until the bowl game. In which he lost a whole year because of the injury. The season after that he competed to gain a starting spot on the team as a senior and competed and played in every game. Will this player have an opportunity to apply for a medical hardship or the chances are slim to none?

    • David Frank

      Maybe, the difficulty is that the doctors said he was cleared to play. You are going to need to work with the athletic department to get the necessary paper work together. They will have a better idea on what his chances of getting the waiver might be. Best of luck.

  71. Dom Joseph

    My case is a little bit unusual. I am currently a senior and I played football during the spring semester of my sophomore year at a division 1 school. I did not play in any games. In May I had three hernias that I had to get repaired. Over the past couple of months I have had some complications with those hernias, and my doctor is saying that I cannot exercise for at least a few more months. Next year I am planning to transfer to a different division 1 school in order to play basketball. I am confident that I will be able to get at least one more year of eligibility (my normal redshirt), but can you advise me as to how I could best go about potentially getting two more years of eligibility to play basketball? I could probably get a medical redshirt, but what could I do such that they would also grant me the 6 year clock extension? Thanks so much for your willingness to help out and this extremely helpful website!

    • David Frank

      Contact your compliance office once you get to your new school. You will need the help of your compliance office to apply for the medical red shirt and the 6th year of eligibility.

  72. In Division I, is it currently 20% or 30% in calculating a season? I’ve read various institution policies from different conferences that make reference 20% or 30%. Are you able to possibly clarify? Thank you.

  73. This was supposed to be my senior year. I played 2 years at another school my Frosh and sophomore year then transferred to the school I am at now. The first year I transferred I did not play not redshirt. I then played my Junior year which was last year. This year before the season started I had back issues but they then went away. I practiced for the first 2 weeks then started having pain down my right leg. Late November I find out after I get my MRI I have a herniated disc and I will need surgery. After the semester ends I had surgery. I plan on double majoring and will finish up with my degree next year. Do you think since my 5 year clock is up I will receive my final year of eligiblity?

    • David Frank

      Talk to your athletic department and see if your coach wants them to pursue a medical shirt and 6th year of eligibility. If they are willing to help you, you might have a chance.

  74. Gary O'Leary

    hey straight out of high school I played football for a naia school in 2011 at the end of that season i tore a ligament in my finger but finish the season. the next season i transfered to a juco but did not play because i had lots of rehab for finger and couldnt catch the ball that was 2012. 2013 i did not play because i was at a juco out of state so i redshirted. now 2014 im at a juco back home and I’m projected to go d1 but i need that 2012 medical redshirt to be eligible a 2 for 2 d1. if i dont get it ill but a 1 for 1 d1. do you think ill get it ? and i have not filled out no paper will they accept me even though it happened a couple years ago.

  75. i played my first year (2011-2012)of college football at a D1AA school, played in 8 games out of 11, tore my meniscus and tore my quad. got surgery on my knee and that was fine but my quad never healed because i tore it about 3 times prior. For some time i couldnt even lift my leg out of bed and could barely walk but never got any documentation from the D1 school. I transfered to a D2 school (summer pf 2012)after the year was done. When i reported to fall camp the doctors didnt clear me to play because of my quad, it was a chronic ruptured tear and i had formed 2 hard tumor like lumps on my quad. after i heard this i left the D2 after 2 weeks in fall camp and decided to be a student at a juco back home which had no football program. i took the year completely off (2012-2013)and got deep therapeutic massages from a friend of my dads. i went to another doctor and he confirmed it was a chronic tear and i could tear doing anything as simple as tying my shoe, he advised me to quit football. now this year (2013-2014) i played at a juco still with the lumps and pain all year but played. now iam looking to transfer to a D1 school and walk on, i would like to be there for 2/3 years. my question is can i get a medical red shirt for the 2012-2013 year since i took the year off due to the injury..the strange thing is about my quad, ive done multiple counts of therapy, massages, anti inflamitory pills and took the year off and still not completely healed. I got an MRI and X-ray and nothing showed up which was strange, i plan to see a doctor this spring and try to figure whats going on but how would i be able to get my medical redshirt for that year because i dont want to lose a year because of that. thank you.

    • David Frank

      There is a chance you could get the waiver. Once you make it on the team where ever you end up walking on, sit down with someone in the compliance office and see what you need to do. Best of luck.

  76. i play naia baseball.i injured my thumb 3 weeks before our season started. i played in two innings over the course of our first 6 games. we are currently only 6 games into our season. my thumb has been getting worse as the saesons gone on, and today i had an appointment with an orthopedist. im now in a hard cast for 3 weeks. full recovery with rehab is tentatively going to be
    5-7 weeks. do you think i will be eligible for a medical redshirt for the this season? can i get a regular redshirt for this season?

    • David Frank

      You won’t be eligible for a regular red shirt. It is possible you could get a medical shirt, I would begin working with your athletic department and see what you need to get the paper work started. Best of luck with your recovery.

  77. Andrew Dube

    I am a division 3 basketball player. Injured my knee a few days ago and got an MRI that showed a “high grade partial thickness tear”. I have been going to PT for a few weeks now but my season ends in a week and I will not be back for it. Played in less than 30% of my games and injury happened in first part of season. Does this count as an incapaciting injury? Will I be able to get a medical redshirt ?

    • David Frank

      One of the requirements for an injury to qualify for a redshirt waiver is that it happened in the first part of the season. For this reason, you would not bee eligible to get a waiver for this year. If the injury prevents you from playing next year, then maybe it will qualify.

  78. Anonymous

    I am a division 3 women’s ice hockey player freshman. I tore my ACL in November of my senior year in hs. Started out the season and developed issues with my knee, tendonitis, weakness, etc. I could not practice more than 50%. I had physical therapy from November freshman year to January 31, 2014. Coach started dressing me for games but I never played. Me not being 100% was the reason given. The season will be over this weekend and I will not have played all season. I inquired about a medical waiver and she says that it is not possible. What do you think?

    • David Frank

      I wouldn’t ask the coach about the waiver, talk to your athletic department. Just ask them what you would need if you wanted to pursue an extra year and if they think you have a case. Good luck in your recovery.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for your quick response. Compliance officer says she does not believe I am eligible for waiver. Her reason is that acl was torn in senior year of high school. She says although I wasn’t strong enough for full practices and required intensive PT and graston technique, along with tendoniyis, it doesn’t warrant waiver. I would like to pursue it but it seems they are not backing me.

      • Anonymous

        Also, do you think I should go over their heads to director? I have a fear of making waves. Coach already has discussed using me as third string next year. Upsetting because I know I haven’t been able to show my full potential in practices. The regs I’ve had suggest injury must have taken place in college. She also said because I dressed for games that I do not qualify.

        • David Frank

          If your athletic department is saying you don’t qualify because you dressed then there is nothing you can do. Keep in mind, all of this paper work would be to get this year off eligibility back at the end of your college career. Because you have a lot of normal eligibility left, the school doesn’t “need” to get you this waiver for you to play. Best of luck.

  79. HBP Broken Throwing Arm - softball

    Daughter had throwing arm busted in hit by pitch last week. Senior year, four year starter, scheduled to graduate in Fall but planning on graduate school. Questions: who decides she is ready to play and game ready? In a hard cast at moment with atrophy very likely. Normally hit, played infield and even pitched in a couple of the 8 games before injury. Can school decide she is fit to stand at first base even if she can’t hit or throw at 100% and burn her senior year? How does that work? If granted medical hardship, is scholarship still in play or is that gone after the fourth year?

    • David Frank

      The decision of if she is medically fit to play comes down to the team trainers and doctors. As an athlete you are also allowed to seek your own opinion (your own doctors).

      If she is granted the additional year she is still eligible for a scholarship.

      Your best course of action is to begin the conversation with the coaches and athletic department about what to do if she doesn’t heal up in time. Find out if a medical is an option and what you need to do.

  80. William Jones

    What happens when you are redshirted for a season and then offered a medical for the rest of your years. Didn’t play in freshman year due to an injury in warm ups before the game started. Didn’t compete at all freshman year. Haven’t competed sophomore year either. Now being offered a “medical”. Drs have told me to leave the sport. However, question is What exactly is covered in the “medical” Currently stay year round for training, but since training won’t happen will it cover my spring/summer classes when I was a scholarship athlete? Any idea?

    • David Frank

      Typically a “medical” allows a team to still offer you a scholarship, but it doesn’t count against their total. Essentially, it is given to a player who will no longer be able to play, but they team would like to make good on their offer to support you education. I would ask your coach and athletic department what exactly the medical will cover. Best of luck.

  81. Jared T

    Heres my situation and want to see if this would be allowed.
    Out of high school I went to NMSU to play football, I redshirted for the freshman season at the end of the season I wasn’t enjoying my time there so I transferred to ASU per NCAA rules I was required to sit out a season so I started taking classes at a juco and was going to play for them while waiting. While training i tore my ACL and required surgery and it looks like I may miss this season of football. Am i able to apply for a medical hardship, even though I redshirted at New Mexico state?

    • David Frank

      You can discuss appealing for the year of eligibility with the athletic department of the NCAA school you are going to attend. You need to document the injury with doctors and make sure they state it is season ending. Your NCAA school might consider filing for a sixth year of eligibility.

  82. My son plays for Juco Division II baseball in North Carolina and had knee injury while practicing early this year. He had knee surgery. He was released to play but now his knee still bothering him a bit. Can he medical redshirt even if he played one inning of a game? He has been put on the roster. He doesn’t want to lose this whole year. Thank you.

    • David Frank

      It depends if the doctors think it is a season ending injury. In the petition process for a medical shirt, you need doctor verification that it was a season ending injury.

  83. I play baseball at the Division III level. In the 9th game of a 40 game schedule, I was hit in the face with a pitched ball, breaking both nasal bones and my cheek bone. They were going to perform surgery, but eventually decided against it. Doctors say it will take 6 weeks to fully heal. With this diagnosis I will be healed right at the beginning of playoffs. If I don’t play in playoffs would I be able to get my season back? Or since the bones will be healed by playoffs will I not be able to get it back?

    • David Frank

      You can only get a medical redshirt if the doctors agree it is a season ending injury. This is something you need to discuss with your coach and your athletic department an see if they would be willing to help you get this year of eligibility back. If they will, they will outline what you would need from the doctor.

  84. I am currently a freshman at a division II college. At the beginning of this football season, during the second week of camp I fractured my fibula, which caused me to miss the entire season. If I apply and receive a medical redshirt, do I still have 5 years left to play college football including my regular redshirt?

    • David Frank

      Medical redshirts allow you to get the entire year back. However, if you end up needing your sixth year of eligibility, there will be a special waiver you will need to apply for at that time. I wouldn’t worry about it at this point. Just get the paper work for your medical shirt handled with your athletic department.

  85. I am a 5th year senior in track and field for a division one school. I tore my bicep femoral muscle nearly completely off according to the MRI during conference championships indoors a few weeks ago. I had qualified for Nationals in the Heptathlon but did not get to go because of the injury. The doctor told me that the injury is a minimum of 8 weeks recovery but most likely 12 weeks or more. This will erase my entire remaining outdoor season including a chance to qualify and go to outdoor nationals of which I have a good chance of making. I sat out of conference championships last year outdoors because of a hamstring injury as well. Do I have a chance of getting a medical hardship or am I out of luck for my last season of outdoor eligibility. I have not competed in an outdoor meet of course so I have not violated that rule. Let me know what you think… Thank you!

  86. My daughter plays Div 1 Basketball. Freshman year she received a Redshirt due to an injury. Sophmore year was injured end of season which required surgery. Junior year never played due to wrong diagnosis/surgery and now needs 2nd surgery to correct problem. Will be playing her Senior year + 5th year. Can she apply for 6th year due to neglect by doctor which caused her to miss her entire Junior year of ball. Missed her Freshman /Junior year. Played her Soph. Still has Senior/5th Year to play.

    • David Frank

      It is possible. You will want to work with her school and see if they think you can get a 6th year of eligibility due to a misdiagnosis. It is not something you would be able to do on your own, a school files for a 6th year on behalf of a student athlete.

  87. meghan thompson

    Hey David, so my boyfriend plays D1 football and he was a freshman redshirt. currently he is a junior on the field and a senior in the classroom he graduates this may but has one more football year left to be played fall 2014. He tore his acl mcl and meniscus during spring practice yesterday would he be able to get a medical red shirt and still get to play fall 2015 ?

    • David Frank

      It’s possible, any school that he is going to play for would need to help him file for a medical redshirt and a 6th year of eligibility. Has he talked to the coach or athletic department about what to do next?

  88. Walt Thomas

    Can an athlete petition for medical waiver on his/her own, where educational institution refuses to cooperate/assist? Long story. Athlete
    wants to leave after falling out with coach who ordered her to participate in one golf tournament due to lack of players past the midpoint of season, and against doctor’s orders.

  89. Anonymous

    If an athlete meets all the criteria for a medical waiver, but the injury is something that may or may not end his season, can the redshirt application be filed several weeks after the injury? As an example, if a pitcher has an elbow issue and doctor says 2-3 weeks rest and then resume throwing, but in 3 weeks, the athlete still has pain, and doctor says another 3 weeks, which would be after the end of the season, can the team file 3-4 weeks after the date of the injury?

    • David Frank

      The number one criteria is a season ending injury. You need the doctor to provide written documentation that thee injury is of that nature. If you and the doctor feel it is a season ending injury, I would contact your athletic department and find out what kind of documentation you need in order to move forward with the waiver.

  90. Danyelle

    I am a sophomore Track and Field athlete. I went to a D1 school in Fall 2011 recruited by a coach. When I called upon arrival I was told that the coach had been fired and to get with new coach. Long story short new coach made me try out and didn’t want me. Talked with a DII school and they wanted me to come there. So I transferred there in the spring and worked out with the throwers. I participated in outdoor track season in 2013. Started this track and field season in indoors. Went to two track meets. Before the second track meet I sprained my upper arch. Went to second track meet and could barely throw. Was put in a boot but didn’t get better. The trainer took me to an Ortho Dr. and he said I needed a cast to get off it completely. He said it might heel in two to four weeks or as long as 9 weeks. Went back after three weeks and the Dr. took cast off and put me back in boot. Went back after three weeks and Dr. said I could try it but didn’t guarantee me that it was healed. Tried practicing this past week and after 2nd day it started hurting. Coach told me to throw in this past weekends track meet and then we could talk about medical red shirt. He said it would not put me over the 20%. There is only two more track meets left. Did the Coach mess up my chances for medical red shirt? Does the spring I transferred to my new school count as my red shirt year? Went to see the trainer today and she said the Coach is now saying no on the medical red shirt. I think he just wants me for conference. What should I do?

    • David Frank

      Anytime you participate in a meet past the half way point of the season you are not eligible for a medical redshirt; the 20% rule doesn’t apply if the meet is in the second half of the season.

      It sounds like 2012 was your redshirt year.

      At this point the best thing to do is contact your athletic trainer and an official in the athletic department and let them know you are injured and do not think you should be participating. It is the athletic departments job to protect student athletes from feeling overly pressured to compete through injury. Best of luck.

  91. My daughter is being recruited to play softball in college. We just found out she will need surgery that will force her to sit out a year. She is willing to do the surgery her senior year of high school and will be released by her freshman year for full participation. Since she will have been off a year and may take a bit of time to get back to her current playing condition, could a coach decide to redshirt her her freshman year to allow her to practice with the team and get back up to speed(she’s a pitcher)? Also, if by the time the season starts, if she’s ready could he convert her from being a redshirt to being on the active roster? Since the surgery will occur during high school I would assume a medical redshirt is not possible. Also, since we just found this out, when do you tell a coach?
    Thanks for your input.

    • David Frank

      Declaring an athlete a redshirt does not need to happen before the year. Meaning, she could start the year under the assumption she will redshirt, but if she is healthy in the spring she can play.

      You need to talk to all of the coaches who are recruiting you and set a plan with them. Some coaches might be willing to hold the spot on the team, other coaches might pull their offers. Once you talk to coaches, I am sure they will want to be involved in the plan for surgery and recovery.

      Best of luck.

  92. Hi- I play division two college softball and didn’t play at all my senor season due to an injury. My current school does not have a graduate program (Masters degree) can I be eligible to play at another college or university if I am granted a medical red-shirt ?

    • David Frank

      Possibly, if you find a school and a coach willing to go through the paper work process with you, then you could theoretically have a chance at a red-shirt/graduate student waiver.

  93. I have a question requiring medical hardship. At the end of the 2014 season i will receive a medical hardship however the coach has cut my scholarship for the next season will i be allowed to transfer without having to sit out a year another d1 school?

    • David Frank

      Your transfer status depends on the availability of any of the waiver opportunities. You will need to work with the athletic department of your new school to see what your status will be after your transfer.

  94. I am a football player at a d2 school and I started my freshman year but My sophomore year I separated my shoulder in the first game of the season keeping me out for the whole year then my senior year which was this year, I suffered a very serious, season ending neck injury in the third game of the season which required spinal fusion surgery. Entering my fifth year under the assumption that I get the medical redshirts granted to me for my neck injury, is it at all possible to receive a medical for my shoulder as well, essentially giving me two medical redshirts? And if so is it too late to file for that redshirt two seasons later?

    • David Frank

      It is possible to get a year back for an injury several years prior, you will need to talk to officials within your athletic department and see if they think you have a case. If they do, you can try for the 6th year, if they don’t, you won’t really have a chance of getting the 6th year.

  95. David Black

    Playing baseball in njcaa and hurt elbow April 2′ 2013. Rested and did therapy but eventually had ucl surgery (Tommy John) in September of 2013. I am still rehabing an obviously did not play
    any this year. Going to transfer to another juco. Do I need to take a medical hardship now or do I need to use the regular redshirt. The college I am leaving says take regular redshirt but the college I am transferring to says take Medical Hardship. What advantages , of any , for either way? I am thinking about if I have to apply for a 6th year of eligibility later on.

    • David Frank

      Medical Hardships are essentially an extra year of eligibility. You have five years to play four years of your sport. If you think you will be using a 6th year, you will need to apply for a medical hardship waiver.

      If your school is willing to file for the hardship waiver, you should do it. Best of luck.

  96. Kelly

    I had an injury very early on in the year. However, my trainer did not send me for an MRI. I stopped playing and began rehabbing. I started to feel comfortable and played in one game past the 50% mark. However, during that game, I once again had severe discomfort and was then sent for testing to reveal a tear needing surgery and that would end my season. However, after about the 22% mark of the season, I was out of practice and games other than the one game trying to make a return. Would there be a chance the the NCAA rewards me a year of eligibility back?

  97. Steve

    I sustained a pretty serious injury to my brachial plexus when I dislocated my shoulder during my senior year of high school football. I had nerve damage in my left arm for about a year and a half that prevented me from playing football my freshman year of college (documented). Now that I am healed I plan on walking on to a D1 University. I have not been a part of a college program yet and I will be a junior this fall. From my understanding this gives me 3 years of eligibility remaining. Could a hardship waiver cover my first year of absence due to my injury sustained my senior year?

    • David Frank

      Maybe, but the NCAA likes to see that an athlete got back to playing as soon as possible after an injury. You will want to discuss the possibility of a red-shirt with the DI school you are hoping to play for.

  98. Devonte Pryor

    I played two years at a junior college. I took classes at a community colleges first semester of my third year. Them second semester I went to a division two played 7 game but went home because my relative passed away and I couldn’t function but I’m may I went back to take my finials and got into a car accident tore my acl mcl Pcl the school was suppose to put in a hardship for me but never did so. So once I rehabbed I went to a NAIA played my fourth season but I’m looking to request a hardship through my NAIA school does this sound like something I should fight

    • David Frank

      I would request a meeting with your athletic department and find out why they do not want to pursue your medical shirt. Remember, these departments work for the school and coach. Ultimately, you need your coach to request the athletic department pursue a medical shirt. If your coach is not going to do that, the athletic department will not help.

  99. My nephew signed to play football with a community college. He just tore his hamstring on day 3 of freshman football camp. He’s been told that he’s out and his scholarship is gone. Could he apply for a medical redshirt and would this help him keep that scholarship? This just seems so wrong to me…

    • David Frank

      A medical red shirt won’t stop the coach from pulling the scholarship. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen to athletes who get injured. The majority of college coaches make good on their word to offer the scholarship if the athlete is injured, but there are cases where they lose the scholarship.

  100. I play soccer and I have bad scoliosis that I have got treatment on for the past 4 years of college outside of my trainers. They know about it but I have mainly seen other doctors and chiropractors. My freshmen year I played in 1 game in preseason and in my junior year I played in 4 before the second half of the season. For either of these years can I get a medical hardship? I want to come back for my 10th semester as a graduate student and play.

  101. John Doherty

    My son has played JUCO baseball for the past two seasons. During the fall season he was injured which required surgery to repair. He diligently went through the rehabilitation process through the winter in an attempt to compete in the Spring. He started the Spring on the roster were he could only DH (surgically arm was not medically cleared)but could not continue due to the injury. Unfortunately he had competed in 21% of the contests as a DH. One of the games he was HBP on the injured area and removed from the contest in the first inning(was replaced by a runner). Would this occurrence count towards a game played means the at bat is not a recorded plate appearance? This would reduce his percentage of play.
    We have recently been told his medical waiver was denied due to percentage. All of his medical documentation was in place. It seems a little unfair to penalize an athlete with a legitimate injury who attempted to play but was unable because his surgically repaired throwing arm would not allow.
    Seems petty to have to look for loop holes! Is there an appeal process? Can a parent file the appeal on the athlete’s behalf? The School has limited if any experience in the process. As a parent, I just to make sure we exhaust all possibilities. Any chance at an appeal?

  102. Joe Cohen

    My daughter is a D1 Field Hockey player. Tore her ACL in a game LAST season and is medically unable (not cleared) to play this 2014 season. Coach cut her scholarship this season back to 2 years ago amount- Is this legal or proper?

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