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OFF BEAT: Insurer trying to sack former NFL player, reality TV star

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After leaving his mark on professional football and starring on a reality TV show, Tampa, Florida, personal injury attorney Brad Culpepper is making a name for himself in the world of workers compensation fraud.

The former National Football League defensive tackle who received a $175,000 workers compensation disability settlement in 2011 in California, a state where he never played or lived, is now being accused of faking his injuries.

In a lawsuit filed by Fairmont Superior Insurance Co., the insurer is questioning Mr. Culpepper’s 89% disability rating based on the fact that he continues to participate in martial arts and starred as a 2013 cast member on the reality TV show Survivor.

“Defendant Culpepper’s conduct was fraudulent, deceptive and designed to inflate the value of his claim and to take advantage of and abuse the California workers’ compensation system,” states the suit, which was filed in July in Orange County, California.

After retiring from the NFL 14 years ago, Mr. Culpepper earned a law degree and then became a personal injury lawyer in Tampa. Two years ago, he became the lead plaintiff in a concussion lawsuit against the NFL, along with 25 other players.

At the time, Mr. Culpepper told physicians he had many injuries, from head and knee trauma to neurological and vision problems. He reported having “quite a bit of difficulty” with “usual work activities, usual hobbies and recreational activities, driving and sleeping” and could not sit for two hours at a time, according to the lawsuit.

However, when Mr. Culpepper appeared on the reality TV show “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” as a contestant with his wife, Monica, it got the insurer’s attention.

“On information and belief, Culpepper signed an Interview Agreement representing that he was in ‘excellent mental and physical health’ sufficient to compete in connection with the physical challenges of the show,” the lawsuit states. “Furthermore, on information and belief, Culpepper underwent physical examinations to determine that he was, in fact, in excellent health, which he passed.”