"It's almost like a second injury"

The police officer in Blair, Nebraska responded to the call, never imagining it would be his last. A man, apparently drunk, had struck a wall of a building. The man was slumped in his seat and did not seem to be breathing. The officer attempted to move him and he became agitated and began assaulting the officer, who during the fight suffered nerve damage to his neck when the man violently grabbed his head and wrenched it.

Two vertebrae had been damaged and since that day in 2007, he has suffered chronic pain. It took 11 months of therapy before he returned to duty. Then further deterioration required surgery, and then a second surgery last year. Because of continuing the pain, numbness, and permanent nerve damage in his arm, he could not return to duty. He was retired by the city from the force and then received the news that his medical insurance had ended.

Because the city cannot afford to keep injured workers on their insurance, he has been forced to buy insurance through his wife's employer at $714 a month and that is better than the COBRA insurance that would cost about $2,000 per month.

He noted it was like "a second injury" and for injured workers, it can be a daunting prospect to make ends meet after a career ending injury like this. It is not just police officers who face this risk, but virtually everyone who works. You could fall, striking your head in a "freak" accident in virtually any workplace. If you drive, there are innumerable dangers that could lead to severe injuries and leave you disabled.

Workers in many occupations will face the same challenges as this former officer does after a workplace injury, as he attempts to obtain training to overcome his disability, deal with insurance costs and his medical treatment.

Source: enterprisepub.com, "Blair officer injured in line of duty loses health insurance after retirement," Leeanna Ellis, May 11, 2016

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