Professional athletes are employed in many of the same ways as other workers. Because of the intensity of using their bodies, they are just as prone to injuries and other complications due to the nature of their jobs. Because of this, professional athletes may have the option of filing for workers' compensation if they have experienced injury or disability through their work.
Should athletes expect to get injured on the job?
The debate over workers' compensation for athletes stems from the claim that athletes are expected to know a degree of risk associated with their individual sport. One of the most prominent risks is brain trauma within the NFL. Many assume that players understand a chance for injury within the game, but this has been contested recently in court proceedings in California. In 2013, the National Football League was able to severely limit the ability for athletes to file for workers' compensation, no matter the injury. These partially rest under an assumption that, in working for the NFL, you might become injured.
Why is this?
American football has many rules and technologies in place to try and protect its players. From the extensive rule, foul, and play structure to the padding, equipment, and training that each player receives, the NFL tries to prevent injury before it occurs. These provisions are available with many jobs – usually covered in instructional videos during job orientation.
As you can see, the issues surrounding professional athletes and worker's compensation are complex and contingent upon a multitude of factors. The law varies by state, situation, and is constantly changing. You can read more about the history of South Carolina Workers Compensation Law here. If you know or are a professional athlete and want to know your rights, contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have offices around South Carolina including Greenville, Charleston, & Walterboro.