Charlotte Professional Athlete Injury Lawyers
Helping NFL Players & More Recover from Injuries
Facing the gridiron can seem almost tame compared to suffering a professional sports injury. You’ve trained hard to get where you are in your career and are rightly worried about your playing ability and future eligibility – especially if surgery and/or a lengthy convalescence are involved. That desire, drive, and talent that brought you to the game in the first place are the same qualities urging you back to the field despite your injury. You deserve the best medical care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy available in order to successfully overcome the broken bones, strains, and pain inherent to playing professional sports — and to get you back in the game as quickly and safely as possible.
Once injured, there are practical matters that must be addressed through the workers’ compensation system — medical expenses, lost income, future earnings, permanent or partial disability, and long-term medical care (if necessary). It is also possible for professional athletes to file a claim against a non-employer third-party for personal injury in certain instances. Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. can help using our skills as professional athlete injury lawyers in Charlotte.
Handling Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Claims for Professional Athletes
You need a competent attorney who is experienced in handling the complexities of workers’ compensation and the inter-related personal injury matters. Your attorney should also be as skilled at dealing with the unique legalities associated with sports injuries, as you are in blocking a pass or running a touchdown.
Martha Ramsay is that attorney. She has been a member of the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) Workers’ Compensation Panel for North Carolina since 1995. She represents current and former professional football players in workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained during their careers. She is sensitive to the player’s need to protect his or her earning ability while on the field and extends that focus on how a player can be best protected in the future. She is uniquely qualified to work through the union and collective bargaining issues which can impact an athlete’s legal case. She has also represented professional athletes in soccer and basketball in their workers’ compensation claims.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in NFL Football
Doctors and researchers have long understood that football, like other contact sports, can produce an array of serious head injuries. However, the true prevalence of brain injuries in the NFL was underestimated until recently. What scientists now know is that virtually every player in the NFL is at risk for developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease induced by repeated blows to the head.
In July 2017, a shocking update to an existing long-term study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that CTE, which can only be diagnosed after the patient has died, was detected in 110 out of 111 deceased NFL football players: more than 99%. When high school football players, college football players, and semiprofessional football players were also examined, the figure dropped from 99% to approximately 87%. These figures indicate that, while all football players are at risk for CTE, the disease is all but certain in NFL players.
CTE is caused by repeated head injuries, which explains the prevalence of the disease among NFL players and other professional athletes. Each time an NFL athlete is tackled to the ground, collides with another player, or strikes a hard surface, there is a risk of sustaining a head injury. Every fall, concussion, or blow to the skull over the course of a player’s career – no matter how mild the injury seems at the time it occurs – increases the likelihood that CTE will develop.
NFL Compensation for CTE and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
CTE, as well as the head injuries which lead to CTE, can inflict a range of debilitating physical and mental impairments on an NFL football player. Even the lowest level of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is called mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or a “concussion,” is capable of resulting in effects that persist for weeks or months, whereas moderate or severe TBI generally results in long-term or permanent physical and cognitive damage.
Due to the enormous complexity of the brain and central nervous system, the effects of CTE and traumatic brain injuries typically prove irreversible. While a laceration can be closed with stitches, or a damaged joint reconstructed with implants, damage to brain tissue is almost impossible to repair effectively, even with the benefit of world-class medical care. Because they are so difficult to treat and have such profound effects upon the patient and their loved ones, brain injuries are among the most devastating and life-altering injuries any athlete can sustain.
Depending on its severity, size, and location, a traumatic brain injury can lead to a range of physical effects, mental effects, and emotional or behavioral effects.
These effects may include:
- Blurred vision
- Chronic pain
- Difficulty balancing
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Difficulty reading and/or writing
- Memory loss
- Persistent vegetative state
- Shortened attention span
- Speech problems
- Vision loss
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control (incontinence)
- Difficulty learning and processing new information
- Loss of physical sensation, such as pressure or temperature sensations
CTE, which is caused by repeated head injuries and causes the brain to lose physical mass, can have similarly devastating consequences for an NFL player’s health, independence, and functionality. These consequences can persist and continue to worsen for many years after the player has retired.
Effects of CTE may include:
- Erratic behavior
- Increased aggression or irritability
- Increased impulsivity
- Memory loss
Due to the permanently disabling nature of most football-related brain injuries, as well as the enormous medical costs associated with ongoing treatment and care, injured NFL players require financial support. Equipped with decades of experience fighting for compensation on behalf of hurt NFL players, athletic injury attorney Martha Ramsay is ready to explore every possible legal avenue for recovering compensation.
Where Does a Professional Athlete File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
While many professional sports injuries are covered under workers’ compensation in most states, other states have decided that injuries received by professional athletes don’t fall within the legal definition of a workplace injury. There may be multiple venues where you can file a claim, such as the location where your injury occurred, where your team is based, where your team’s corporate headquarters is based, or where your official residence is located.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Retirement
Many athletes wonder what happens if a sports injury becomes symptomatic after retirement. Can a professional athlete still receive workers’ compensation benefits? In many cases, you can. Your eligibility depends largely upon the venue where you file your claim and the type of injury that has caused you to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Call (704) 376-1616 to discuss your case with our professional athlete attorneys in Charlotte. Your free consultation will be informative and confidential.
Hire a board certified Workers' Compensation attorney today to start fighting on your behalf!