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Court rules that NFL punter's injury deserves workers' comp

When someone is hired for a job and it is explained that the job comes with a certain degree of risk, should a San Bernardino employer have to pay workers' compensation when that employee is injured? What about when the job is as a professional athlete? There are athletes who are injured playing their sports every day, either because of their own actions or because of another player's, but many of them file workers' compensation claims against the sports teams for which they play.

Former NFL punter Tom Tupa is no exception. After playing for 16 seasons, the then-38-year-old punter injured himself while warming up for a game. Though the accident does not appear to be his team's fault, he filed for workers' compensation and a court recently determined that football players can hold their teams liable for workplace injuries.

The judge's opinion noted that the punter had been warming up on the side of the field when he fell. He apparently landed oddly and subsequently went to see a doctor. Tupa never played football professionally again. Nearly one year later, he filed a workplace compensation claim, but he soon withdrew and filed again 1.5 years after the original injury.

Despite the fact that there are an endless number of ways in which a professional athlete can be injured while playing his or her sport, a fact that every athlete realizes, sports teams are still often the target of workers' compensation claims following an accident. It is certainly unfortunate when athletes suffer career-ending injuries, but they knew of the risks before they started to play.

Stay tuned for further updates from our workers' compensation defense firm ...

This post was for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Tom Tupa, former Brecksville High, OSU and Browns player, wins workers comp case for career-ending injury," Aug. 23, 2012

If you are looking for more information on Tupa, see the source above. If you want to learn more about defending against workers' compensation claims, please visit our website.

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