Former NHL Players File Class Action Concussions Suit Against League

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 25 2013 5:55 PM

Former NHL Players File Class Action Concussions Suit Against League

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The Vancouver Canucks' Brad May is removed from the ice on a stretcher with a concussion after a hit.

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/NHLI

A group of former NHL players filed a class action suit in federal court on Monday claiming that the pro hockey league hasn’t done enough to protect its players from concussions, the Associated Press reports. The lawsuit, brought by 10 former players, seeks damages from the league for its handling of concussions. The players allege the NHL downplayed the risks of brain injuries on the ice.

The players, according to the AP, also want “court-approved medical monitoring for their brain trauma and/or injuries, which they blame on their NHL careers." The former players, according to the Globe and Mail, “claim that a player can sustain about 1,000 hits to the head during a season without any documented incapacitating concussion and that repeated blows result in permanently impaired brain function.”

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The impact of concussions during play, and the consequences of brain injuries on players later in life, has been a hot topic for the NFL. The issue has been on the NHL's radar, but has yet to face the same level of investigation. But, as the Globe and Mail points out, with the recent number of concussion-related injuries in the NHL, most notably those of the league’s posterboy Sidney Crosby, the issue is gaining momentum. Here’s a bit more on the developing trend from the Globe and Mail:

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, the game’s most popular player and face of the NHL, missed large chunks of two seasons as he slowly recovered from concussion symptoms. Several other players, including former all-stars Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontaine and Keith Primeau, were all forced to prematurely end their careers due to concussion issues. In 2011, three former NHL enforcers, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak died tragically raising concerns about a possible link between the deaths and the players’ tough guy roles and concussions.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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