When the average American thinks about workplace injuries, it is unlikely that they consider National Football League athletes among the ranks of the wounded. Still, football is work, and a massive number of employment-related injuries are attributable to the sport each year. As the fight over athletes' workers' compensation continues, Arizona's nearby neighbor California is entering the spotlight because of its recent controversy.
California has long been thought of as the "state of last resort" for football players with serious injuries. That is because the legal structure in that area recognized "cumulative trauma," consisting of chronic injury to body systems that result in musculoskeletal disorders and other problems. Currently, athletes, some of whom have never played in California, are entitled to sue there and in their home states. A new bill has been introduced to close this loophole; opponents of the measure say it could cause scores of athletes to lose their chance at compensatory medical care that they deserve.