Kenneth Goldblatt | October 20, 2018 | Personal Injury
Westchester Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer shares an article from the New York Times. Ten former N.H.L. players sued the league for negligence and fraud, saying the sport’s officials should have done more to address head injuries.
The players, who were in the league in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, filed in federal court in Washington. One of the lead lawyers is Mel Owens, a former N.F.L. player who has represented scores of other retired players in workers’ compensation cases.
The players include role players and stars like Rick Vaive, who scored more than 400 goals in 14 seasons. One player in the suit, Darren Banks, was described as an enforcer. The players say they sustained repeated hits to the head during their careers and now have depression, headaches and memory loss.
The suit comes about three months after the N.F.L. agreed to pay $765 million to settle hundreds of cases brought by more than 4,000 retired players who said the league knew about the dangers of repeated head hits but failed to properly warn the players. Similar suits have been filed against the N.C.A.A.
In seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the players said in their complaint that the N.H.L. “knew or should have been aware” of the effects of head hits but “took no remedial action to prevent its players from unnecessary harm” until 1997, when the league created a program to research and study brain injuries. Even then, the suit said, “the N.H.L. took no action to reduce the number and severity of concussions among its players during that period and Plaintiffs relied on the N.H.L.’s silence to their detriment.”
Owens and other lawyers said in a statement, “The N.H.L. continues to glorify and empower players known as ‘enforcers’ — players with the singular intention of injuring the opposing team.”
Bill Daly, the N.H.L.’s deputy commissioner, said in a statement: “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. We intend to defend the case vigorously and have no further comment at this time.”
Though hockey players have sustained concussions and other head injuries for generations, the N.H.L. faced less scrutiny about its policies than the N.F.L. The N.H.L. set up a concussion study program in 1997, the first in North American major league sports, and has in recent years modified rules in response to increased concern about head trauma.
In May, the family of Derek Boogaard filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the N.H.L., saying the league was responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage Boogaard sustained in six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers. Boogaard was found dead of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol in 2011. He was posthumously found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a brain disease thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head.
The suits brought by retired N.F.L. players were originally filed in states around the country over many months. They were eventually consolidated and heard in federal court in Philadelphia. Players will soon decide whether they want to approve the proposed settlement.
Traumatic brain injury can have long lasting consequences for the victim in extensive medical bills and post treatment. To learn more about New York Traumatic Brain Injury, contact the New York brain injury lawyers at Goldblatt and Associates to schedule a free consultation. We serve accident victims in New York. We offer a free consultation, and receive no fee unless we are successful. Call 1-800-567-9888 today.