Category Archives: Sports

Student Athletes Should be Covered by Workers’ Compensation Policies

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Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. In light of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware’s recent injury during the NCAA tournament, many commentators are calling for workers’ compensation protection for athletes. I wrote about this issue on our blog in late 2011 in this post: Nebraska – A Rare Example Of How To Treat Student Athletes Better. As I wrote, Nebraska law, since 1984, has provided some protection for college athletes, which is similar to the protection offered by workers’ compensation, but not in the workers’ comp system, of course. I am pleased that the Nebraska Legislature and University of Nebraska continue to be progressive when it comes to working with college athletes. Perhaps the Nebraska approach could be a model for other states, as Mr. Ware’s tragic injury will most likely cause him complications later in life. I wish him, and all injured college athletes, the best as they heal and then adjust to their new realities.

Student Athletes Should be Covered by Workers’ Compensation Policies

They call them “student players” and the schools, televisions companies and advertisers make the money. The “students” get injurede and no benefits are available for medical (except when over $90,000 on medical has been expended then an NCAA policy kicks in), no temporary disability or permanent disability are afforded. The student suffer lifetime and carrer altering injuries as they play their hearts out for the schools and they do so without adequate compensation.

There is major inequality going on in College sports which indeed is a BIG business.

The coaches hammer at the student players and entice them to play too many games in a growing TV broadcast season where one conference add up upon another expanding to greater proportions and placing serious physical demands upon the player resulting in accidents and injuries.

Additionally bullying by coaches as revealed by Rutgers Basketball Coach Rice physically assaults the students and berates them with indecent name calling.

Where is the accountability? The students are actually employed by the schools to earn profits for the educational institutions and corporate sponsors. The student players are being exploited. Student athletes should be covered by workers’ compensation policies.

Nebraska – A Rare Example Of How To Treat Student Athletes Better

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Can workers’ comp for Nebraska student athletes be an example for the NCAA?

Between the terrible events surrounding the Penn State football program, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke’s record-breaking win, and Taylor Branch’s controversial article in the September 2011 issue of The Atlantic magazine, there’s been a lot of coverage of college sports in the news lately. This isn’t necessarily unusual for Nebraskans. Our own University of Nebraska has one of the premier football programs, one which is revered by Cornhusker fans far and wide.

Recently, my good friends and fellow advocates for the injured, Charlie Domer and Len Jernigan wrote blog posts pointing out some of the challenges athletes face.

The bottom line of these posts is that athletes face serious health risks – from brain injuries to chronic obesity, and yet, in most states, collegiate athletes have only basic student health coverage to protect them and are prohibited by the NCAA’s strict rules from earning extra income to purchase additional coverage.

Since 1984, Nebraska law has provided additional protection for college athletes. Our schools offer a rare exception among college athletics programs by offering students a form of workers’ compensation.

In The Atlantic, Branch makes the point that the NCAA has treated college athletes unfairly for years. Schools profit tremendously from the risks student athletes take without compensating them beyond their college scholarships.

But Nebraska is different. Since 1984, Nebraska law has provided additional protection for college athletes. Our schools offer a rare exception among college athletics programs by offering students a form of workers’ compensation.

If we do continue to enforce amateurism in collegiate sports, perhaps Nebraska law can serve as an example for other states to follow.

This difference is because in 1984 the Nebraska Legislature enacted a law (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-106.05), which mandated that the University of Nebraska establish an insurance program to provide coverage to student athletes for personal injury or death while participating in university- organized games or practice in an intercollegiate athletic event.

This law covers students Continue reading

The NFL’s surprising occupational hazard: obesity that kills, PART 2

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Today more then 350 NFL linemen weigh over 300 pounds.

Today we have a follow-up from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina.

Last week, we shared a post about a surprisingly common illness affecting retired NFL players: chronic obesity.

In 1990, less than 70 players in the NFL weighed more than 300 pounds. Today there are more than 350 who weigh that much. All this weight adds up to
higher death rates for retired NFL linemen than for the general public.

Retired NFL players are more likely to have medical conditions that go along with obesity Continue reading

The NFL’s surprising occupational hazard: obesity that kills

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Today’s NFL linemen have to be bigger than ever.

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina. Football is a topic near and dear to the hearts of the folks at Rehm, Bennett & Moore, as we know it is for so many Nebraskans. As Len discusses, like all athletes professional football players face some dire work-related health problems. We’ll continue to cover this and similar topics from time to time on our blog.

Most people know that football is dangerous. We see reports of NFL players with every kind of gruesome injury imaginable. Even suicidal depression, it turns out, is a potential hazard of playing football. Of course playing in the NFL is both rewarding and risky.

There is one common health problem among NFL players, however, that usually goes unmentioned. We thought it was a fitting topic for our workers’ law blog because NFL linemen must embrace this condition in order to stay in peak performance. It’s called chronic obesity.

These days, to be an NFL lineman, you not only have to be fast and strong, you also have to be fat.

Since the 1990s, Continue reading