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I’m a huge basketball fan. And I love the deserved hype the WNBA is getting. I couldn’t be more excited that Angel Reese is on the Chicago Sky. She seems like a female version of Brian Urlacher, Horace Grant, Dick Butkus, Dennis Rodman and other hard nosed, blue collar Chicago legends. I expect she will do amazing things here.

The league is improving by leaps and bounds. Players are getting charter flights to their games now. While the salaries aren’t where they should be yet, many players are receiving great endorsement deals.

All that said, there is still a roster size cap of 12 players which means there are only 144 spots league wide. Not everyone is Angel Reese or Breanna Stewart or A’Ja Wilson where their spot is assured. So a lot of these women are still trying to not rock the boat in some ways. This is evident when it comes to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

The nature of playing basketball means that there will be a lot of injuries. The season hasn’t even started and #3 overall pick Kamilla Cardoso is out with a shoulder injury. Second round pick Brynna Maxwell is out with a knee injury. Vet Taya Reimer has been dealing with a concussion.

There are more injuries to come. It’s just unavoidable. And yet according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website, it’s been three years since a Sky player has filed for work comp benefits. Last year forward Morgan Bertsch missed eight games with an ankle injury. She’s healthy now (and was traded) but like any other worker in Illinois she is entitled to a settlement. Same holds true for players who got hurt while playing in Chicago for other teams.

These are women who aren’t making huge salaries. So to pass on a likely five figure, tax free work comp settlement doesn’t make sense. Yet somehow the league has avoided any claims by Sky players since 2021. For players who suffered career ending injuries or long term ones with surgeries, they could be entitled to six figure settlements.

The good news is that all players are subject to the same time limits for filing as every other Illinois injured worker. That means they can file the case within three years of the injury date or two years from the last payment of compensation related to the injury which would be medical bill payment.

These benefits are rights that every worker is entitled to. The next step in the WNBA’s player growth includes collectively not being intimidated by limited roster spots and worried about retaliation if you pursue a right you are entitled to under law.