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NFL players, including in Ohio, tackling workers' compensation

Most workers' compensation cases are expected to address injuries and illnesses caused by unusual incidents in the workplace that are usually the exception rather than the rule. But workers in one profession in the middle of a fight for workers' compensation benefits suffer serious injuries on a weekly basis.

In Ohio, those workers play for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. They play for the NFL and, on a weekly basis for a few months out of each year, are faced with at least bumps and bruises, but in worse situations, career-ending debilitating injuries.

Most people associate NFL players with exorbitant salaries and indeed many players do earn millions over the course of their careers. But many of the players who aren't in the limelight make much less than the stars of the league.

When one of the players in the former category suffers an injury that jeopardizes that source of income, they often find themselves in a bad financial situation. Many haven't trained for other careers and some have long-term, even permanent injuries that prevent them from taking other work opportunities.

The league, on the other hand, like many employers in other industries, is trying to reduce its liability for workers' compensation benefits. Some players have tried to file suit in states that are more lenient with awarding workers' compensation benefits, based upon the fact that they played games in that state. But those in charge of awarding benefits have ruled that the players didn't perform enough work in the other state. Injured players may also have to prove that any specific injury occurred in that state, leaving those with cumulative injuries from incidents throughout their careers with little recourse.

Undoubtedly, NFL players will continue to fight for workers' compensation benefits. Even though many of them reach celebrity status and are icons to their fans, the fact is that the majority of the players, or rather workers, in the NFL do not retire with enough money made during their careers to support them for the rest of their lives, especially if they require long-term medical attention.

Source: The Tennessean, "Former Tennessee Titans take hit under new workers' comp law," Walter F. Roche, Jr., July 8, 2014

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