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Workers' comp benefits for pro athlete currently debated

Being injured on the job is often a risk that employees in West Virginia must face. This is especially true if an employee is working in a high risk or dangerous industry. In order to address the concerns of injuries or illness in the workplace, workers' compensation is often available. This program is a way to help the injured worker enjoy workers' comp benefits throughout the duration of his or her disabling injury.

One concern regarding the workers' comp program is professional athletes. Specifically, whether pro athletes should be able to enjoy the same benefits of workers' compensation as workers in other fields. According to recent reports, this is currently being debated and could be changed.

Currently, if a former pro athlete has stopped their career due to an injury, he or she could seek workers' compensation. In fact, an athlete could claim benefits up to the age 67, just like other workers in the nation. However, because pro athletes often have a high paying job, it is currently being argued that they should not enjoy the same benefits as lower wage earners injured on-the-job.

Legislatures are suggesting that former players with career-ending injuries will be able to recover workers' compensation benefits. However, a cap will be placed on these benefits. Payments can be received by athletes no older than 35 or for five years after their injury occurred.

While there are debates surrounding pro athletes obtaining workers' comp benefits, it still remains a valid program for injured workers across the nation to obtain benefits. Because a work injury is likely to generate medical bills and lost wages, it is important that injured workers understand their rights and options.

Source:, "How long should injured pro athletes get workers comp?," Kiannah Sepeda-Miller, Feb. 20, 2017

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
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