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Former NFL Tight End Kellen Winslow Sr. Files Workers' Compensation Claim Claiming Brain Injury
By Lonce Lamonte - November 29, 2019

According to records obtained by USA today, and reported by ESPN, Kellen Winslow Sr. is seeking workers' compensation in California.  He claims head trauma experienced during his NFL career.  He alleges the trauma has caused brain and nervous system injuries.

The 62-year-old Hall of Fame tight end filed the claim in January 2018 against the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA).  Winslow played his entire nine-year career for the then-San Diego Chargers, retiring after the 1987 season.

CIGA, which covers insolvent insurers, is fighting the case on the grounds that Winslow's injuries happened too far in the past. According to USA Today, Winslow has made a settlement demand and is looking for compensation only for "brain injury."

Winslow's ongoing insurance case over brain injury has run concurrent with his son's legal battle.  His son, Kellen Winslow II, convicted of rapes and then accused of further rapes, just took a plea bargain from the San Diego District Attorney's office, which could extend his present sentence resulting from a previous trial, from nine years to a maximum of eighteen years. 

In early November, Kellen Winslow II, also a former NFL tight end, pleaded guilty to further charges of sexual assault and sexual battery and faces 12 to 18 years in prison on those charges. His defense attorney said he suffers from traumatic brain injury, the result of a 10-year NFL career and a motorcycle accident.

Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr. alleges he sustained his brain and nervous system injuries because of repetitive trauma.  Winslow, 62, states his cumulative trauma came during his career with the San Diego Chargers from 1979 to 1988 and resulted in “cognitive and behavioral disorders and such other damage."

 CIGA has fought the case, citing laws that restrict liability for older injuries. Winslow since has made a settlement demand, and a medical exam soon could help determine his eligibility for benefits.

The claim forms say Winslow Sr.'s injuries came in “various cities and locations” and is for “brain injury only” from playing and practicing professional football.  It’s not clear why Winslow Sr. is pursuing this now or what other compensation Winslow might have pursued from other football concussion litigation involving former players.

Winslow Sr. this year regularly attended the trial and related court proceedings of his 36-year-old son, Kellen Winslow II.  The most recent plea deal, involving multiple sex crimes, included the rape of a homeless woman in 2018 and the rape of another woman in 2003.

Winslow II played in the NFL from 2004 to 2013 and suffers symptoms related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has been linked to head trauma in football, according to his attorneys.  His attorneys plan to present evidence of this to the judge in hopes of lessening his prison sentence.

“He does suffer from frontal lobe damage as a result of playing football, otherwise known as CTE,” Winslow II’s attorney, Marc Carlos, said Nov. 4th.

CTE symptoms include aggression, impulse control problems, impaired judgment, depression and memory loss.

Both father and son were standout tight ends in the NFL after being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.  The father was drafted out of Missouri in 1979 and the son out of Miami, Florida, in 2004. Winslow Sr. played in 109 NFL games. His son played in 105.

On the day his son pleaded guilty Nov. 4th 2019, Winslow Sr. lashed out at the prosecutor in the case, Dan Owens, when he thought Owens was looking in the direction of Winslow’s family in San Diego County Superior Court.

 “Do not look over here,” Winslow Sr. told him twice with a raised voice.

“I am not going to comment on Mr. Winslow Sr.’s demeanor in court,” Owens said outside court afterward. “I understand that he is under a great deal of emotional stress at this time, just as any father would feel.”

Winslow II is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2020. He has been in jail since March 2019.

lonce@adjustercom.com, Lonce Lamonte, journalist and editor, adjustercom. 

 

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