NFL Players Stuck Paying for Health Care, Training
League withholds benefits, makes life tough
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2011 11:32 AM CDT
Eagles defensive lineman Trevor Laws pulls against a band held by trainer Andrew McConnell while working out, March 16, 2011, in Cherry Hill, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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(Newser) – NFL players are starting to feel the lockout squeeze. Earlier this month, the league stopped covering their health insurance—a step it never took during the 1982 and 1987 strikes, the Washington Post reports. That’s left players paying not just $2,000 to $3,000 a month in health insurance premiums, but thousands more for personal trainers, nutrition supplements, massages, yoga, acupuncture, and other things they say help them keep their often gigantic bodies in peak condition—and which they used to get in team training facilities.

Millionaire players paying for their own massages might not sound like a tragedy, and for most it’s not. “It’s not something we want to harp on. We should be able to afford that,” says Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark. But for players making the league minimum $320,000, the expenses add up. “You do have players who spent the whole season on the practice squad, he says. “They just can’t come up with the funds.”