It can be easy for fans to lose sight of the fact that professional athletes are employees. They work for someone, though usually via a contract agreement. But as an employee, if you are a professional athlete of any kind, you also have a right to certain types of benefits.
The types of benefits you have a right to depend heavily on your contract or agreement. Understanding which typical employee rights you have can be difficult, and it can be extremely complicated to figure out how an on-the-job injury might be treated.
We say on-the-job injury because for a professional athlete, the practice and playing field is the office. If you are injured in the midst of a game, you are injured while doing your job. Because practices and workouts are required by many teams or management companies, injuries during such activities might also be considered to have happened on the job.
When a professional athlete is injured, though, it’s not always as easy as reporting the incident to a supervisor and filing a worker’s compensation claim. The way you handle the claim differs according to which league you play for, what your contract says and what the rules of your team are. To make matters even more complex, professional athletes can suffer play-related injuries that don’t show up until months or years after they originally occur.
If you are a professional athlete at any level and have experienced an injury that keeps you out of play, requires medical treatment or threatens your income, then consider seeking advice from a professional workers’ compensation lawyer. As long as you aren’t covered under a collective bargaining agreement, an attorney might be able to offer some assistance.