Our readers may be aware of the ongoing problems the NFL faces as a result of players who have developed mental, emotional and physical problems due to repeated concussions. That, at least in part, has led many players to seek out workers’ compensation to cover costs for treatment, particularly in California, where the rules for filing claims have been lax, until recently.
While focus has been on football, the fact is that there are a significant number of brain injuries in other sports as well, in sports like baseball, hockey, basketball and soccer. Over the last twenty years, in fact, over 2,500 claims have been filed by players in these sports in California’s workers’ comp system.
That being said, there has been a significantly greater number of such claims from football players over the years–nearly 5,000, in fact.
Now, of course, players are more restricted as to when they can claim workers’ compensation in California, due to legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this month. The law, which is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, would block claims from athletes who spent the majority of their career playing for a team outside California.
As some of our readers may know, the measure has been protested not only by athletes and athletic associations, but also by labor unions, who are concerned that passage of the bill could lead to legislation that will restrict workers in other industries from filing claims in California.
Time will tell whether that fear is legitimate, but for now it appears quite likely that the bill governing claims for athletes is likely to soon be law.
Source: Latimes.com, “Thousands of California injury claims made by professional athletes,” Ken Bensinger, September 25, 2013.