According to a recent report in the NY Times, @ 700 former NFL players are pursuing workers' compensation claims in California – and – they have never played for a CA team! Is this possible? Yes! CA law allows players to apply as long as they've played at least one game in the state.
This is bringing about question about California's workers' compensation system, which is supposed to help California workers who are hurt on the job. Why? Because hundreds of former NFL league players are walking away with settlements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and all of these claims from out-of-state athletes could cause workers' comp rates to increase. While benefits are normally paid by an employer's private insurance, if an insurance company goes under, a state fund serves as back-up – the state fund is paid for solely by California businesses.
One of the most recent claims comes from Ralph Wenzel who played for the San Diego Chargers for two years and fot the Pittsburgh Steelers for four years. Currently, he lives in Maryland. He filed his claim in California. Wenzel now suffers from dementia. Wenzel's case is receiving lots and lots of attention for two reasons – it comes from out of state and it is related to dementia, an illness that we are starting to see become more and more common in football players – so much so that Congress is exploring the relationship between brain injuries and NFL players.