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Ohio lawmakers eyeing changes to workers’ comp for NFL players

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Most people don’t realize that professional athletes can get workers’ compensation benefits. After all, injuries are a part of just about every player’s career – no matter what sport they play. Some injuries affect players’ lives forever. We’ve seen that with professional football players whose concussions left them with serious and permanent brain injuries.

Now the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Ohio state legislature have aroused concern by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) that some workers’ compensation benefits could be stripped from both the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns players.

What the NFLPA has told players

The NFLPA recently sent a letter to players saying in part that “Bengals ownership has asked the Ohio legislature to strip Bengals and Browns players of their workers’ compensation benefits.” It called this “an attack on your rights as an American and a player covered by the CBA [collective bargaining agreement].”

Specifically, the NFLPA claims that state lawmakers are considering legislation that would prevent players from being able to get permanent partial disability compensation because their claims would expire after five years. Currently, according to the NFLPA, players can seek lifetime compensation to cover their continued need for medical care.

A different take from a state lawmaker

Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati says that the proposed legislation, which he says is still being worked on, is not “a complete cessation of workers’ compensation benefits for professional athletes.” He says its purpose is “to preclude professional sports players who remain actively employed in professional sports from claiming permanent partial disability….”

So why should the average Ohio worker care about this? For one thing, it goes to show that nothing that is dependent on the law – including workers’ compensation – should be taken for granted. Lawmakers and those with influence on them can always seek, and potentially make, changes. 

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, it’s crucial to understand your right to workers’ comp benefits. If you’re having difficulty being allowed to file a claim or getting your claim approved, it may be beneficial to get legal guidance.