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NHL concussion lawsuit brings up concerns of long-term disability

Much the same as former National Football League players, 10 former players in the National Hockey League are suing the league for not taking enough protective measures to prevent them from concussions. With many of our California readers big hockey fans, this developing story is quite interesting.

According to the lawsuit that was filed in federal court earlier this month, players are seeking damages and league-sponsored medical monitoring for the brain injuries during their time as players in the NHL. These players are worried about dealing with a long term disability as a result of concussions that could have been avoided had the league taken more precautions in the past.

This lawsuit comes only three months after the NFL agreed to pay out $765 million to settle a similar lawsuit involving thousands of former players who have been dealing with concussion-related problems since retiring. As of now, the list of NHL players listed in the lawsuit is much smaller, but does include big names such as former all-star, Gary Leeman.

The suit claims that the NHL should have paid closer attention to scientific evidence that players who suffered multiple head injuries would have a greater risk of disability during their career, as well as later in life. Along with this, it states that the NHL did not take any action despite the fact that it created a concussion program in 1997. Also, the league did not take any steps towards cutting back on head injuries until 2010, when targeting a player’s head was finally made a penalty.

This lawsuit is similar in many ways to the one filed by former NFL players. Only time will tell if the result is similar as well. In many cases, brain injuries result in astonishingly high medical bills and continued medical care. Personal injury attorneys can help those who have received a brain injury seek compensation to offset those medical costs.

Source:  Sports Illustrated, “NHL hit with concussion lawsuit by former players” No author given, Nov. 25, 2013

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