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Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The NFL and Workers' Compensation

Alan Schwarz of the New York Times offers an interesting story today regarding a workers' compensation claim recently filed in California by the wife of former NFL lineman Ralph Wenzel, effectively asserting that Wenzel developed dementia as a result of his eight year career in the NFL. Schwarz reports that around 700 workers' compensation claims have been filed by former NFL players in California -- whose workers' compensation system is available to anyone that played a single game in the state -- with most of the claims to date relating to orthopedic injuries. If successful, Wenzel's claim would mark the first time that a player has received workers' compensation for the long-term effects of head trauma, and would open the door for hundreds of similar claims to be filed by other former players. Experts predict that the NFL could be facing $100 million or more in potential future liability should Wenzel's claim succeed.


An interesting wrinkle not covered in the story is that the last employer has to act as the "bank" for the workers comp claim in California until treatment closes. So if a football player played 10 years in the NFL and then 1 year in the Arena League the Arena League would have to cover the entire medical bill until treatment finished.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/06/2010 2:20 PM  

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