SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A report finds California's workers' compensation system has awarded millions of dollars in benefits for job-related injuries to thousands of professional athletes, including many who played for out-of-state teams.

The Los Angeles Times says ( http://lat.ms/XLiSkD) sports leagues and their insurers are working to halt the practice, which has paid an estimated $747 million to about 4,500 players since the early 1980s.

The athletes are taking advantage of a provision in state law that provides payments for the cumulative effect of injuries that occur over years of playing.

NBA star Moses Malone was awarded $155,000. Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin received $249,000.

The newspaper reports some of the athletes played as little as one game in California.

The benefits usually come as lump-sum payments but sometimes are accompanied by open-ended deals to provide lifetime medical services.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com