Brad Culpepper, an ex-NFL player, was a contestant on the popular reality television series Survivor. However, due to his disability rating, insurers say he should have been physically unable to compete. Insurers are claiming that Culpepper made false disability claims, as he was able to compete on the reality show despite his disability rating. In fact, just two years before the ex-NFL player appeared on Survivor, he received $175,000 in worker’s compensation claims due to his ”low back pain and stiffness.”
According to ABC News, it was Culpepper’s ease of performance and physical ability shown on the reality show Survivor that has landed the former NFL player in hot water. According to a civil lawsuit filed by the insurers, Culpepper told doctors just two years before appearing on Survivor that he suffered from “low back pain and stiffness which is almost always present.” He went on to say that he had “quite a bit of difficulty… getting into or out of the bath and performing heavy activities around his home.”
However, these physical limitations are not present in his Survivor performance. In fact, Culpepper was recorded leading his time “through a series of strenuous tasks: paddling a canoe, diving under water repeatedly, retrieving large crates, and stacking them on the shore.” All of which should have been physically impossible, according to the lawsuit, if Culpepper had been telling the truth about his physical state in his previous disability claims.
However, Culpepper isn’t having any of it. He claims that just because he was performing tasks doesn’t mean he wasn’t in pain or disabled. Culpepper is calling the entire case “ludicrous.”
“I was on pain medication, and I had a back procedure right before that. Just because I chose to do things that are contra [sic] to my body, doesn’t mean I’m not in pain, and doesn’t mean I’m not impaired. This whole lawsuit is ludicrous. I’ve worked too hard in my life to have this as a headline.”
The Daily Mail reports that Culpepper seems highly frustrated over the whole civil suit, so much so that he ripped his shirt off during a TV interview with Brian Ross on ABC to show an obviously torn bicep.
“He ripped off his shirt and showed a torn bicep and a shoulder injury to to the camera, asking: ‘Is that normal?'”
The civil suit also claims that Culpepper should have informed doctors about starting mixed martial arts, as well. The insurers feel that Culpepper knowingly abused the worker’s compensation system by omitting important details about his physical capabilities.
“Defendant Culpepper’s conduct was fraudulent, deceptive and designed to inflate the value of his claim and to take advantage of and abuse the California workers’ compensation system.”
What do you think? Do the insurers have a right to question Culpepper’s physical capabilities since he went on a publicly broadcast television series to perform strenuous activity, even though he was making disability claims? Or is his pain and other bodily injuries enough to justify the worker’s compensation payments?