Bo Jackson is probably the best athlete I’ve ever seen.  Think about it, he won the Heisman Trophy, was a stud in the NFL until he got hurt (I hope he got a work comp claim) and was an All-Star in baseball.   He was powerful yet graceful at the same time and did some of the most amazing athletic moves.  The most famous is probably when he climbed the outfield wall and looked like a cat in doing it.

There’s a gym teacher in Illinois who recently lost his Illinois workers’ compensation trial because he tried to be like Bo Jackson.  The teacher sounds like an awesome guy, the kind you’d want for your kids and it’s kind of a shame he lost his case.

The long and short of what I’ve read about this case is that he was waiting outside the locker room when one of his students ran up the wall and jumped.  The teacher said he could do the same “Bo Jackson style” maneuver and on his second attempt he felt a pop in his ankle and tore his Achilles.  It’s exactly what would happen to me if I tried this move except I don’t think I would have made it past the first attempt.

This teacher was trying to connect with the students and in his own words, “be a physical fitness role model for them.”  Even though the principal said that this didn’t violate any school policies and synced with their goal of having him build rapport with the students, the Arbitrator denied benefits because it was an act of horse play.  The key reason he lost is that the act was initiated by the students, not him although to me that sounds like nonsense.

Two key points from this case:

  1. If you engage in horse play and get hurt, you’ll not get work comp benefits.  This usually happens when two workers are play fighting or joy riding or something like that.  This case seems like an extreme and bad ruling though because it doesn’t seem to me that the teacher was goofing off or way off from his normal job duties.
  2. He lost this case because of the insurance company.  Remember, they are the ones you are going to have a fight with and need to look out for.  His boss was on his side, but even then the insurance company did everything they could to screw him over and unfortunately in this instance they won.  You can be a good guy and a role model, but the insurance adjuster is only looking it from a dollars and cents standpoint.

So while this is a unique case, it does serve as a warning that insurance companies will deny you whenever they can and you need to be prepared to deal with it.  I did look the case up and while I’ve never heard of the lawyer for the injured worker, the defense firm is a major player out of Chicago so perhaps it was a matter of this guy getting out lawyered.

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