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Ten former National Hockey League players have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the league and its board of governors have not done enough to protect players from concussions.
The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as medical monitoring for former NHL players who retired on or before Feb. 14 of this year “and who have suffered brain trauma and/or injuries as a result of concussive and subconcussive impacts inflicted on them while playing in the NHL.”
The suit estimates the class includes 10,000 people. This is the first suit filed by former NHL players.
“While every blow to the head is dangerous, plaintiffs did not know, and were not told by the NHL, how dangerous this repeated brain trauma is,” the suit contends.
“The NHL has known or should have known of (the) growing body of scientific evidence and its compelling conclusion that hockey players who sustain repetitive concussive events, subconcussive events and/or brain injuries are at significantly greater risk for chronic neuro-cognitive illness and disabilities both during their hockey careers and later in life,” according to the suit.
“The NHL's active and purposeful concealment of the severe risks of brain injuries exposed players to unnecessary dangers they could have avoided had the NHL provided them with truthful and accurate information and taken appropriate action to prevent needless harm,” the suit said.
Many players sustained repetitive brain injuries while in the NHL and suffer from “latent or manifest neuro-degenerative disorders and diseases, all of which, in whole or in part, were caused by the NHL's acts and/or omissions,” the suit alleges.
Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the NHL, said the league was aware of the suit.
“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,” Mr. Daly said in a statement.
The NHL will “defend the case vigorously,” the league said.
In August the National Football League reached a $765 million settlement with more than 4,500 retired players who sued over concussion-related brain injuries.
The National Football League said Thursday that it will pay a $765 million settlement to more than 4,500 retired players who say they've suffered concussion-related brain injuries connected with their careers.