Are you ready for some Football and Workers’ Comp?

Many folks would not correlate a professional football player with a workers’ compensation claimant, but they certainly can be one in the same.  For example, in the case of Tom Tupa, a veteran NFL punter who suffered a career-ending back injury during a pre-season game in 2005.  Mr. Tupa played for, or more accurately, worked for the Washington Redskins at the time.  It was argued that Mr. Tupa’s injuries should not be covered under the workers’ compensation law.   The Court rejected this assertion and awarded Mr. Tupa benefits.

Although this court was in Maryland, I believe the same ruling would have applied in Georgia.  In our state, an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if the accident or injury “arose out of and in the course of” the workers’ employment.  In general terms, if you were doing your job and you were injured while doing it, you would be eligible for medical treatment (at the Employer’s expense) and potentially income benefits if you are unable to return work because of the work injury.  Additionally, the Georgia workers’ compensation scheme is considered a “no-fault” system.   However, under some circumstances if the employee neglected to wear required safety equipment or intentionally caused the injury, then benefits under workers’ compensation may be denied.

If you have any questions about Georgia workers’ compensation, please contact my office a free consultation.


  1. It’s interesting to see how workers compensation extended to professional sports and athletes especially in the NFL since their job puts them at risk every Sunday

  2. Seems like a no-brainer to me. If you are injured on the job, the employer is liabile..assuming there was no negligence on the the employee’s behalf. The interesting point that Ryan mentioned is how the workers compensation can extend from a professional setting to the grid iron.. –Still Shouldn’t be any different.

    • In Georgia, professional athletes are afforded the same workers’ compensation benefits as every other employer. That is their job and if they are injured on the job they are entitled to benefits. That also means their weekly compensation rate will max out just as everyone else’s does. The current maximum weekly rate in Georgia is $500. This will go up slightly on July 1.


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