For the past 20 years the Chicago Bears football team has been paying out over $12.5 million dollars to settle Workers' Compensation claims filed by 141 players. From head trauma to spinal injury, Bears players are seeking compensation for serious injuries during their employment with the team that may affect the rest of their lives. Besides these settlements, there are 144 additional claims from 55 other players including Brian Urlacher, Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Hoping to pay out less to future claims team officials are pushing to change Illinois Worker Compensation Law to make it more favorable to employers. Along with other sports teams in the city (the White Sox, Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks), they are seeking to change the age limit for wage-differential payments that workers can collect until age 67 if job-related injuries force them into lower paying jobs. The teams would like the age limit to 35 because pro athlete careers would not last much past that age.
Those fighting for the rights of the players insist that these men work hard everyday and sacrifice their bodies for their employer. They should be compensated just like steel workers. These players may have lifelong injuries and may need hip replacement or spinal fusions. It's easy to look at them and think they are millionaires but there are hundreds who make less than $100,000 a year and may have to stop playing at a young age having fewer prospects for employment because of their injuries.