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 Sports

PHOTOS: Super Bowl Media Day 2015

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots hit the floor for the NFL Super Bowl XLIX media day.

in Sports, Viral Videos

Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to get fined

23-overlay5

The Seattle Seahawks running back has a goal for Media Day.

in National

Blizzard hits the northeast, New York spared its brunt

A man walks out of an ocean front house covered in ice during a winter blizzard in Marshfield, Massachusetts January 27, 2015.

As New York and New Jersey lifted travel bans, Massachusetts braces for more snow.

in Lifestyle

Drunk driving less likely in cities with Uber ride services

Uber West Coast Regional Manager William Barnes sits in the back of a car during a photo shoot Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Las Vegas. The ride sharing company has begun operations in Nevada.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving works with Uber to establish ride service rights in cities around the world.

in National, World

World leaders join last survivors in recalling Auschwitz

Members of Polish Scouting Association from Canada and U.K. place a lit candle at block 15 in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz in Oswiecim January 26, 2015.

World leaders joined Auschwitz survivors at the site of the former Nazi death camp to mark 70 years since its liberation by Soviet troops.