Professional athletes who play for the NFL and other nationally recognized sports teams face specific problems when it comes to worker's compensation. Professional athletes who are injured during the performance of their duties receive different benefits according to the type of injury they receive. Acute or specific injuries will provide one type of benefit, while cumulative injuries offer other options.
A specific injury is an injury that is received and immediately diagnosed and treated. This can be a hyperflexion of the knee, a twisted ankle, broken finger, or concussion. The injury is received and is basically a one-time event. The injury is treated and once it has healed, the player returns to the playing field.
Cumulative Trauma Injuries
Cumulative trauma injuries are those that accumulate over time. Repeated hits, stressing the joints, and pulling muscles, can cause permanent damage to the body that may not show significant signs until the athlete has retired. Because the injuries accumulate over time, there is no specific date for the injury. Instead, when a worker's compensation claim is filed for this type of injury, the date of diagnosis is used.
While many states do not recognize cumulative trauma claims, California does and will provide benefits to professional athletes who file claims and can prove their injuries within the legal scope of the law. Attorneys in California are well-versed in worker's compensation laws and can offer sound legal advice.
NFL players are employees much like every other worker. They’re entitled to the same worker's compensation benefits as others. It’s important to hire an attorney who knows and understands the law for both professional athletes as well as individuals in other industries.