Legislatures and courts have created laws that bar coverage for athletes Some team owners limit workers’ compensation benefits to professional athletes through contractual restrictions In a number of jurisdictions in the U.S., professional athletes do not receive adequate protection under state workers’ compensation laws
Workers’ Compensation for Professional Athletes Statutory exclusion method Functional exclusion method Exclusion through case-law method Election method Set-off method
Statutory Exclusion Florida : excludes professional athletes from workers’ compensation Massachusetts and Wyoming :exclude professional athletes from workers’ compensation by stating that professional athletes are not employees, Rhode Island : excludes hockey players Washington : excludes horse race jockeys “ Employment” does not include serviced performed by professional athletes
Some states have specific provisions that include professional athletes under their workers’ compensation programs, but functionally exclude them from such benefits. ...For example, Iowa does not allow professional athletes to fully recover their lost salary for permanent disabilities Functional Exclusion
Palmer v. Kansas City Chiefs Football Club: the court concluded that the deliberate collision of bodies did not constitute an “injury” under Missouri’s definition of workers’ compensation. It was said that Palmer’s injury was not an unexpected occupational event. Exclusion through Case-Law A Maryland court held that an occupation such as football, which requires physical contact, cannot give rise to “accidental injuries.”
Election Method Some states give team owners the option of participating in workers’ compensation programs. If team owners choose not to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation programs, professional athletes must rely on their contracts for benefits. Some team contracts limit or exclude professional athletes from private benefits.
Set-Off Method Workers’ compensation benefits are subtracted from any benefits paid under contract and team owners receive a credit to avoid doubly compensating the athletes.
Resources Schaffer, Rachel. "Grabbing them by the Balls." WCL . N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2011. <www.wcl.american.edu/journal/genderlaw/08/schaffer.pdf?rd=1>.