"My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but
my body knows it's time to say goodbye," wrote Kobe Bryant this
Confucius said: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to
work a day in your life." You could see—and feel—Kobe's
love for his job. I have no doubt he'd play for the NBA for the rest
of his life if he could.
But his body stopped him.
The reality is there are countless California workers that are as good
at their jobs as Kobe is at his. You've never heard of them, and likely
never will. The dedication and talent they provide their employers with
isn't televised, and their every move is not analyzed and discussed
on ESPN at the end of each work day. These "Kobe’s" keep
the California economy humming and help explain why far more people choose
to live here than any other state.
But, like Kobe, some California workers who love their jobs just as much
come to the same heartbreaking realization: the very nature of their job
is taking a toll on their health. Some can tough it out, but some can't.
I have met and listened to many "Kobe's." I've watched
their faces as they try to explain how much they love what they do, and
would continue to work if their body would only let them. Losing the job
because of the job they love is a cruel irony. But Kobe will be ok—he's
reportedly worth 328 million dollars.
What about all the other California workers that are living paycheck to
paycheck, but facing the same circumstances as Kobe? Fortunately, California
Workers' Compensation protects workers who suffer cumulative, repetitive trauma.
But there is a movement afoot to limit, and even eliminate, cumulative
trauma claims in California. If this happens, the costs associated with
their medical care and income replacement will shift to taxpayers.
We need to be vigilant about protecting the rights of future "Kobe's".
Take 5 minutes and send a note to their representatives in the legislature,
encouraging them to continue to protect people who suffer cumulative trauma injuries.
Find your legislator here.