What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the NFL – fall games in the evening, wings, or your favorite team? Workers’ compensation is probably not your first thought, but it is something that the NFL has been recently having to shell out money for. Now, it’s easy to forget that the football players we saw on the screen are really employees to a company. They’ve become more of an icon than what we would think of as the average American worker. However glamorous their job may be, they are perhaps more susceptible to injury at their work than most people.
For the past twenty years, the Chicago Bears have had to answer for 141 players filing 410 different claims for workers’ comp. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, this amounts to a whopping $12.5 million dollars that have gone to the players for their pain, suffering, and medical bills. Now it’s no secret that playing professional football puts an inherent risk on the body. According to CNN in the past five years, an average of 243 players have been diagnosed with concussions. These concussions have been known to develop into dementia, Alzheimer’s, and a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. Other players have reported serious spinal injuries and broken bones. As one of the top teams in terms of a number of workers’ compensation claims filed against them, the Chicago Bears have pleaded with the state of Illinois to lower the compensation laws since they are among the most generous in the country. Chicago’s other sports teams: the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and Sox, have supported the bears in trying to change the laws surrounding compensation. The biggest settlement the Bears had to answer for was about $400,000 for a spinal injury sustained by wide receiver Johnny Knox. On average however, they normally settle claims for about $90,000. Which is to be expected since the treatment following these serious injuries is not cheap. Any kind of spinal or brain damage requires intense care.
The amount of workers’ compensation shouldn’t be lowered. If anything workers’ compensation should increase with inflation and rising healthcare costs. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Robert Wilson & Associates believe that if your place of work has a potential to cause injury, then the employer should have to pay for all of the medical bills. As a multi-billion dollar industry, the NFL can afford to take care of their players. After all, the players are the one who make the sport what it is; they should be taken care of when injured.
Like any other job playing a sport comes with its own unique set of risks. As a paid employee of the NFL, they should be taken care of whenever they are injured on the field. America watches them weekly and doesn’t want to see the people on their team suffer.