Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. What happens when a player gets hurt?

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Players' Injuries Caused by Work Activities in D.C.

Unfortunately, Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg was recently diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and is out for the season to have surgery and recover.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is a narrowing of the carpal tunnel that affects the nerves in your wrist and hands. It is commonly caused by repetitive motion - doing the same activity with your hands and wrists over and over. Like throwing a baseball, using a drill or typing.  It affects typists, machinists, construction workers, nurses - anyone who uses their hands to make a living. And just like other workers in DC, professional athletes can get workers comp benefits for their injuries.   

What Should a Player Do If You Think Your Injury Was Caused by Work?

A pitcher's carpal tunnel syndrome is a good example, because it usually occurs gradually, over time, like a lot of repetitive use injuries or conditions. The first thing you should do if you think your carpal tunnel syndrome is related to work is tell your employer - you have 30 days to notify your employer (a boss or supervisor, not just a co-worker).  Professional athletes in DC who play for the Capitals, Mystics, Wizards or Nationals have a big advantage here.

Pro teams in DC are set up with trainers and doctors on staff to attend to players who get hurt in games or practice - so the team (the player's employer) knows about the injury right away and knows it happened at work.  Pro players in DC who get hurt on the job rarely have to worry about the notice issue.

The teams also have access to all of the players medical treatment and rehab records.  Some players get their own second opinion from a trusted doctor who is not affiliated with the team, especially if they are facing surgery.

What Types of Workers Comp Benefits Can Players Get in DC?

Pro athletes who play for DC teams can get the same workers comp benefits as any other worker in DC (who doesn't work for the government).  This means lifetime medical care for the injury, monetary benefits if you cannot work because of the injury and aren't being paid salary by the team or league under a contract, and benefits for a permanent injury, even after your playing career is over. 

A lot of players sacrifice everything they have, especially time they could have been developing another career, educational opportunities and job stability.  Plus, these are short careers - many players who make the roster for the Nats, Caps, Mystics or Wizards only play for a short time, or are up and down between their DC team and the minor leagues. And workers comp is really designed to help those players who sacrificed their bodies as they transition into a career after their playing days are over. Let's face it - you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Call the Lawyer Who Wrote the Book on DC Workers Comp

If you're a professional athlete, you deserve a level of representation that is honest, experienced and direct to give you the best advice on how workers compensation in DC can help you after an injury.

We're not agents - we don't negotiate contracts or endorsements.  But we'll work with your agent to make sure you get the specialty advice you deserve. Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to see if we can help.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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