News

Former players sue NHL over concussions

Former players sue NHL over concussions

NHL LAWSUIT: Referee Eric Furlatt, left, breaks up a fight between Boston Bruins' Torey Krug, center, and Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo: Associated Press/Gene J. Puskar

(Reuters) – Ten former players have filed a class action lawsuit against the National Hockey League (NHL), claiming the league did not do enough to prevent concussions.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs Gary Leeman and Rick Vaive were among the players to file a claim in U.S. District Court in Washington, saying it was time for the NHL to elevate long-term player safety over profit and tradition.

The lawsuit comes less than three months after the National Football League paid $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players, many suffering from dementia and health problems.

The former NHL players 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.

The NHL said in a brief statement that it was aware of the lawsuit and that it has done its part to keep players safe.

“While the subject matter is very serious, we are completely satisfied with the responsible manner in which the league and the Players’ Association have managed player safety over time, including with respect to head injuries and concussions,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, said in a statement.

“We intend to defend the case vigorously and have no further comment at this time.”

Concussions have been in the NHL spotlight for years.

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.

The players point out in their claim that the NHL has refused to ban fighting while team rosters often include “enforcers” whose main function is to fight.

The claim also states that the NHL purposefully concealed the risks of brain injuries and exposed players to unnecessary dangers they could have avoided.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Cayuga-Seneca canal closed to boat traffic due to high water levels

Local_News41-620x400

Heavy rain over the past few weeks has caused high water levels on the lakes.

in Local

AAA projects 41.9 million will be travelling Fourth of July weekend

driving

The organization's travel forecast says this may be the most traveled July Fourth holiday in five years.

in Sports

Ex-Cowboys player C.J. Spillman charged with sexual assault

cjspillman

Spillman, who has played six seasons in the NFL, is suspected of sexual assaulting a woman at a Dallas hotel.

in Local

Escaped murderers did a “dry run” before prison break

sweat matt

More details are being released about David Sweat and Richard Matt's big escape.

in National, World

U.S. runs hundreds of counter-terrorism investigations

Police tape cordons off the site of a car bomb attack in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The explosion occurred near a military hospital in the Yemeni capital on Monday, causing dozens of casualties including civilians, security officials said. The Islamic State's Sanaa Division claimed responsibility on Twitter for detonating the parked car bomb, according to the SITE Intelligence Group monitoring service. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

U.S. authorities are pursuing hundreds of active counter-terrorism investigations embracing all 50 American states.