NFL Retirement Plan Denies Former Player Disability Benefits
Posted on: April 7, 2016 NFL Concussions
With billions of dollars in annual revenues, why is the NFL seemingly “nickel and diming” its former players when they apply for disability benefits? 12-year NFL cornerback Charles Dimry is suing the NFL’s retirement plan for denying him disability benefits. Dimry says he suffered two major neck injuries while playing and had to have cervical fusion surgery in 2000 after his playing days were done. With the pain in his neck growing worse, Dimry was unable to “stand or sit for extended periods” and had to endure further surgeries.
In 2011 Dimry applied for Total and Permanent benefits. These benefits are paid to a player who is “substantially prevented from or substantially unable to engage in any occupation or employment for remuneration or profit.” Dimry was denied these benefits. In 2014, Dimry applied for benefits a second time with evaluations and reports from six doctors stating that he was totally and permanently disabled. Dimry was denied again and his appeal was unsuccessful.
The NFL retirement plan then referred Dimry to a retirement plan approved physician for a “neutral physical medical examination”. However this doctor was never provided with a complete definition of “disability” as it pertains to the NFL retirement policy. The evaluations and opinions of Dimry’s doctors were given no regard, when, in the opinion of the retirement plan’s doctor, Dimry “is not totally disabled … he could do desk or sedentary work.”
The NFL just can’t seem to get out of its own way regarding caring for its former players. If the NFL retirement plan was going to ignore the reports of SIX different doctors, all of whom diagnosed Dimry as totally and permanently disabled, then it should have at least sent him to a doctor who had no affiliation to the league. Sending Dimry to one of the retirement plan’s doctors absolutely screams conflict of interest. A “neutral physical medical examination” can’t be neutral at all if the doctor doing the examining is affiliated with the league’s retirement plan. If the doctor feels even the slightest amount of obligation to the NFL then that could be enough to sway his judgment.
Sadly, this is just further proof that the NFL has a total disregard for the health and well-being of current and former players. The NFL’s actions show that the only thing they care about being healthy is their own bottom line.
The entire article can be viewed here.
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