Ex-Redskins Punter Wins Disability Benefits

Thursday, Sep 1, 2011  |  Updated 4:01 PM EDT
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For most Americans, if you get hurt on the job, you'll be eligible to receive workman's compensation from your employer.

If your employer is the Washington Redskins, it might not be that easy.

Tom Tupa, a punter who played 16 games for the Redskins in 2004, was injured while warming up for a preseason game at FedEx Field in 2005, the Washington Examiner reported.  The punter, who was in entering his 18th year as a punter that year, injured his lower back so badly that he was unable to return for the rest of the season.  He did not return to the NFL the next year.

In 2007, Tupa filed a claim under the Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission, the Examiner reported.  The state ordered the Redskins to give Tupa disability and medical benefits.

Pro-Football Inc., the company that manages the Redskins, did not want to pay.  They challenged the ruling, saying that Tupa was hired to play in Virginia, where the team's practice field is located, so the Maryland commission had no jurisdiction.

An appeals court rejected the Redskins' argument, writing, "It is clear that the purpose of Tupa's employment was to play in games, not to practice."  The Redskins have been ordered to pay up.

Tupa's financial award has not been disclosed.  However, in the original ruling, the Redskins were ordered to pay over a year of disability benefits.

Tom Tupa earned $1.4 million punting for the Redskins in 2004, according to USA Today. He played for 7 NFL teams over the course of his career, and was part of the 1997 Patriots team that lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay.

According to the Examiner, Tupa is currently a city recreation director in Brecksville, Ohio.
 

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