Thursday, December 5, 2013

Casualties of the Gridiron

There's been  a growing awareness of the long term physical effects of playing football, especially at the highest levels in college and the pros. Long time player Brett Favre has recently disclosed his creeping memory loss and opined that had he a son, Favre would "be leery" of letting him play football.

GC magazine is running a series entitled "Casualties of the Gridiron." The video below features former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas.  Lucas suffered ruptured discs and nerve damage as a player and lives in pain. He delayed necessary back surgery for years because he had no health insurance after he retired. he sunk into despair before finally being able to turn things around with help.

The question that first comes to mind for me is, "Why isn't this covered by workers' compensation?"  These pro athletes may be paid millions, but they are still employees covered by state workers' comp laws as far as I know.  Just last month, California made headlines by passing legislation limiting worker's comp claims by pro athletes.  By implication, before that legislation, there were no limitations.  ESPN has even referred to workers comp as a "threat" to the NFL.This week, five former members of the Kansas City Chiefs sued the team over head injuries suffered over the course of their careers. According to their lawyer, the lawsuit is not barred by worker's comp laws because of an exception for injuries incurred over an extended period of time.

Former player, Deion Sanders, who famously criticized players filing suit over not being warned about the effect of concussions, has filed a comp claim for his football injuries.

So, what gives? Does anyone know why Ray Lucas couldn't get the surgery he needed under worker's comp laws?

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