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Football players have disability insurance too – here’s one with a twist

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers signed a typically enormous contract with Colin Kaepernick last week, allegedly worth some $61 million. Nice deal – but there’s an element in there that grabbed our attention.

As part of the agreement, Colin was required to buy a disability insurance policy. Not the same kind of policy that your employer offers as part of your benefits package, but a disability insurance policy all the same. The benefits are as big as his salary package – but there’s a twist. In the event of a career-ending injury occurring at any point after the 2014 season until the end of the six year contract, the 49ers – not Kaepernick – will receive $20 million.

There are a lot of permutations and conditions, as one would expect when the numbers are this big. But scale this back to a normal level – you pay for your disability insurance, but your employer gets the benefits if you get hurt. According to a recent blog post on Niners Nation, Kaepernick may pay a contract long grand total of $2,775,000 for the disability policy – and the payout goes to his employer.

The athlete or performer who makes poor financial decisions and ends up on the front page of the Enquirer, selling used cars or hundreds of autographed posters to pay the mortgage is a cliché, but there are plenty of high profile celebrities who turn up in bankruptcy court. Kaepernick, like any other player, is only as good as his last season – or his last game. Will he end up disabled and destitute? Not likely.

But the fact that a disability insurance policy is in play for a contract of this size sends a clear message – anyone can get hurt, and the cost of a career-ending injury for a multi-million dollar professional sports team can have as much as an impact as an injury or illness on a breadwinner’s family.

With Father’s Day around the corner and summer close by, we hear more about weekend athletes who recapture their glory days, heading to local basketball courts or biking for the first time in years. By all means get out there, but if you haven’t participated in a sport for years, be mindful of your body’s limits. If it’s been ten years since you swung a bat or spiked a volleyball, whatever your sport of choice, remember even professionals know to pace themselves when they return after a hiatus.

If your enthusiasm is greater than your condition and you are significantly injured, remember that short and long term disability insurance claims can be tricky to navigate. If your disability insurance carrier won’t pay on a claim for a weekend-athlete injury and you cannot work, give our office a call – we can help.

Jason A. Newfield

Written By:

Jason A. Newfield - Disability Insurance Attorney

Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.

Learn more about Jason | See Jason’s Publications



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This is about a Social Security Disability claim.

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