Former players sue NHL over concussions

Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:22pm EST
 
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(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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.   Continued...