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Louisiana legislators drop consideration of workers comp bill for pro athletes


While former National Football League players continue to battle the NFL over health problems they allegedly suffer because of their football careers, it appears one fight over workers compensation benefits for athletes in Louisiana may have fallen by the wayside.

H.B. 1069, a Louisiana bill that would define how workers compensation benefits are calculated for professional athletes, was pulled out of consideration by its sponsor on Tuesday, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper. Players from the New Orleans Saints football team, including quarterback Drew Brees, reportedly stopped by the Louisiana House on Tuesday to express their opposition to the bill.

The bill defined how average weekly wages should be calculated for professional athletes with variable wage rates, according to a copy of the bill posted online. For instance, a player who receives a daily wage rate under his contract would have been deemed to have an average weekly wage of seven times the rate he earned on the day of his injury.

In a statement issued earlier this month by the National Football League Players Association, Mr. Brees argued that H.B. 1069 was "not good for our team or other sports teams in Louisiana and not good for our state."

"The job of legislators in Louisiana is to protect injured workers and fight for their workers comp benefits, not find ways to support bills like this one which reduce the workers comp benefits we receive when we get hurt," Mr. Brees said in the statement. "There is no financial benefit to the state with this bill, only team management."

Louisiana Rep. Chris Broadwater, who sponsored H.B. 1069, told the Times-Picayune that he hopes the Saints management and players can reach a compromise for how workers comp benefits should be calculated for athletes.