In a recent decision, a Florida court of appeals determined that a football player whose contract was not renewed for the following season and who then injured himself during tryouts was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits despite a contract between him and the team. The court explained that although the team and the player had signed an employment contract that had not yet expired, the football league had never signed the contract.
The football player had played for one year with the Orlando Predators, a team in the Arena Football League, but his contract was not renewed. He tried out again for the team, and on the second day of tryouts, he suffered an injury. He filed for workers’ compensation benefits, but the AFL contended they were not required to provide him with benefits.
The issue was whether the football player was an AFL “employee.” The football player argued he was entitled to benefits because he had signed a contract that stated that he was hired for employment from February to August of that year. He was injured at tryouts in July, one month before the contract ended. However, although the player and the team representative had signed the contract, the AFL never signed it.