Maryland’s highest court ruled that a former NFL punter, Tom Tupa, is eligible for workers’ compensation after suffering a back injury that ended his career in 2005.
Tupa, 46, was warming up for a preseason game for the Washington Redskins, which was listed as Pro-Football Inc., its corporate name, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., when he suffered the injury.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that football injuries are not accidental.
Tupa’s injury happened “out of and in the course of (his) employment,” according to the 16-page opinion written by Judge John Eldridge and issued Aug. 22.
“He was warming up for a game when he landed awkwardly and thereafter sought immediate medical treatment,” according to the ruling. “Ample evidence was presented to show that Tupa suffered a compensable accidental injury during the course of his employment.”
Tupa played for 18 seasons, punting for seven teams. He signed a four-year contract with the Redskins in March 2004, records show.
The Redskins and its unnamed insurer unsuccessfully argued that Tupa’s injury was not accidental under Maryland workers’ compensation law.