When the doctors asked if he'd ever had any serious injuries, he answered no, thinking that since he'd been cleared to play in college there was nothing wrong.But then the Chiefs' head athletic trainer called Doughty off the field and into his office.

That meant Doughty couldn't play football for the Chiefs—or for anyone else, ever again.

The next day Doughty was on a plane headed back south, with questions on his mind.

Doughty says he rested in the locker room for five minutes and then finished the game. But when it comes to protecting players, who generate billions of dollars every year, from having to pay unanticipated medical bills or ensuring they receive superior, impartial healthcare, there are no official NCAA provisions in place.

Thus, when a player is injured, nothing prevents the athletic director from refusing to pay related medical bills—which sometimes keep coming for years.

When he left for the draft, Doughty was only 12 credits shy of a degree.

And when the Chiefs called, it seemed like his perseverance had finally paid off.Even for those with private insurance, some policies don't cover varsity sports injuries, have high deductibles, or refuse to pay the entire amount due.In such situations, the remaining costs fall to the athlete (many schools, though, do pay those bills).The National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I manual includes more than 400 pages of mandates for its member schools.But there is less than a page regarding healthcare for athletes.Disappointed, the family turned off the television and walked several houses down to Doughty's grandmother's for a late-afternoon barbecue with family. And while he felt fortunate to be at South Carolina, he says college brought its own difficulties.