Texas Court Switches Sides, OKs Workers' Comp for Ex-NFL Star

Issue of injured players has become more prominent as former athletes report injuries casued by playing in pro sports

Last July, Waco, Texas' 10th Court of Appeals rejected former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Hennings' workers' compensation claim, holding in a case of first impression that professional athletes cannot receive workers' comp. But after seeking a rehearing, Hennings has won in overtime.

Reversing its previous stance, the 10th Court held on Jan. 30 in Gulf Insurance Co. v. Hennings that the 393rd District Court in Denton County did not err in finding that Hennings was eligible for benefits. A jury had found that Hennings was disabled as a result of a compensable injury and that the benefits under his contract and collective bargaining agreement were not equal to or greater than the benefits available under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act. This latter finding meant that Hennings did not have to choose between receiving his employment benefits and receiving workers' comp but could receive both.