Medical Hardship Requests

This week’s brief will discuss friendly reminders when submitting medical hardship request to the national office to ensure a timely and a quick turnaround.

Please note that the current limits listed in the NAIA Official handbook under Article V Section M Item 2 and last year’s brief found here, are for injuries that have occurred after August 1, 2015. If an injury occurred before August 1, 2015, those limits will be found in archived handbooks located here or by contacting legislative series.

Sport Season Defined

To clear up some confusion on what is considered a sport season for a hardship request, it is any contest that occurs in a sport’s 24-weeks season. Hardships are not granted for injuries that occur in the last regular season contest.

Example Scenario

A tennis player competes in a fall contest and gets a season-ending injury, can they file for a medical hardship since tennis is a spring sport? Yes, the season-ending injury occurred during the team’s 24-week season of that academic year, before the last regular-season contest and the athlete was injured during an intercollegiate contest.  


1.       When submitting a request for a varsity player, please check Dakstats to ensure that the contests listed on the hardship request certificate match what is found on the site for the student athlete. If there is a contest listed that is after the date in which the doctor examines the student, the hardship will be denied.

1a.        For tennis, track and field, cross country, wrestling, and golf, check the site that holds the official statistical records for that sport to confirm the accurate dates of competition are listed on the request form.

2.       If the Dakstats for the student are incorrect, please contact the national office so those stats can potentially be fixed. If your team uses another site other than Dakstats, please contact that site directly to have all incorrect stats changed before submitting the hardship request form.

3.       If the student is either a junior varsity or freshman athlete, or if a varsity athlete played in a JV or freshman contest, please state that on the form next to the appropriate competition date.

4.       Per the bylaws on medical hardship, only an M.D. or D.O. may sign the medical hardship form. We are unable to accept any other medical professionals’ signatures such as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc.

5.       The student athlete must not have played after the date in which the doctor examined the student and determined that the injury incapacitates the student from competing further.

6.       The date in which a student is examined by an M.D. or D.O. and the return date to play must be in the format of MM/YYYY.

7.       The injury and examination must occur in the sport season in question. Per the bylaws on medical hardship, a medical hardship request will not be granted for a student who is injured in the last regular season game.

8.       Request forms can be sent by mail, fax, or email and this includes the student’s current transcript. Email is preferred for a quicker turn-around response and those request can be sent to

9.       Request forms and transcripts must be sent by either the athletic director or faculty athletics representative.

10.     These forms are located under Legislative Forms on the following link.

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