Tom Tupa, a longtime NFL punter for various professional football teams between the years 1988 through 2004 injured his back while warming up for a preseason game several years ago. The injury ended his career. Tupa was recently ruled eligible for workers' compensation by a Maryland court.
According to his representation, "I don't think that clubs are now able to argue that, since football is hazardous employment, players don't get workers' compensation benefits." This ruling could have a big impact as it appears to limit the NFL from placing itself above workers' compensation laws.
What kind of precedent this case sets remains to be seen. However, this case does display the fact that a workers' compensation claim can be filed by anyone injured through the course of their job. Be that a professional athlete, a desk worker, or a construction worker living in Alabama, an injured worker should seek their due benefits in the face of a work injury.
Workers' compensation benefits will cover medical expenses resulting from a workplace accident or injury, as well as compensate for lost wages. Further, depending on the circumstances, additional compensation could be in order if another party is deemed negligent.
Source: Cleveland.com, "Tom Tupa, former Brecksville High, OSU and Browns player, wins workers comp case for career-ending injury," Aug. 23, 2012