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Success Story: Kaitlyn Blake

Gymnastics Coach Denied Disability Benefits

Training young athletes eight hours a day, five days a week definitely encouraged 39-year-old Kaitlyn Blake, a former gymnast herself, to lead a healthy lifestyle. That is, until lingering pain from an injury caused her to develop an addiction to the powerful painkiller, OxyContin.

Ruptured Achilles Tendon

One day during practice, Kaityn attempted to demonstrate a dismount for her students but landed awkwardly on her feet. She heard a popping sound and felt as if she had been kicked hard in her right calf. She knew these were tell-tale signs of an Achilles rupture and was taken to the hospital right away.

A Standard Prescription

Kaitlyn underwent open surgery to repair her tendon and, during recovery, was given a prescription for OxyContin to help combat her pain. However, her recovery was slow. After the cast was removed and she began phsyiotherapy, Kaitlyn continued to complain about  pain in her lower leg. The doctor refilled her OxyContin prescription for another two weeks, this time with a smaller dose to help her taper off the pills.

Addiction Develops

Six weeks after surgery, Kaitlyn had progressed to using crutches. However, she was becoming increasingly frustrated with the advice of her doctors, who stated that recovery would take time and she should take a break from coaching in order to give her tendon a proper chance to heal. Kaitlyn decided that taking two 10mg pills of OxyContin every 12 hours instead of the one 10mg pill prescribed by her doctor would help get rid of the pain completely and have her back on the mat in no time.

As the weeks progressed, Kaitlyn’s anxiety grew. The only time she felt okay was when she took her pills, which gave her a feeling of euphoria and deadened the emotional and physical pain of her injury. Soon, she was chewing the OxyContin instead of swallowing in order to feel the effects faster.

When her doctor refused to refill her third prescription and urged her to stop coaching for a while, Kaitlyn desperately resorted to purchasing the pills illegally through an acquaintance. 

Addiction Becomes Disabling

Six months had passed since Kaitlyn’s surgery and the pain in her Achilles tendon had finally gone away, yet
Kaitlyn was still purchasing OxyContin illegally and increasing her dosage daily.

Although Kaitlyn had started coaching again, her students noticed that she was behaving erratically, often missing practice entirely. Soon, concerned parents began to pull their children out of Kaitlyn’s gymnastics program. Eventually, she stopped getting out of bed.

Kaitlyn had hit rock bottom. Thankfully, her husband suspected that his wife had a problem. With the intervention of her family, friends and doctors, he convinced Kaitlyn to seek help for her addiction. Kaitlyn agreed to get professional help by entering an inpatient rehab program on the advice of her doctor.

Benefits Denied

Kaitlyn applied for disability benefits through her private insurer and was shocked to receive a denial. The insurance company stated that Kaityn had not followed her doctor’s orders when she was first prescribed the OxyContin and that her addiction was caused by her failure to comply with her doctor’s treatment plan.

Share Lawyers Fights for Kaitlyn’s Benefits

Kaitlyn enlisted the services of Share Lawyers to help fight her insurance. She was relieved when the case was settled in her favour during mediation, awarding her a lump sum settlement that would allow her to focus on rehab while her coaching career was on hold. Kaitlyn recently called the Share Lawyers office to announce that she was 17 weeks clean and on the path to recovery. Congratulations, Kaitlyn!


*Names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of our clients.