It took the National Football League two years to settle its concussion lawsuit at a cost of $765 million. The National Hockey League, however, has been in it about the same amount of time and there is no sign that a deal will be made soon.
NHL Commissioner Didn’t Believe the Lawsuits Put the League at Risk
There are currently 104 former NHL players who claim the league was not only fraudulent in its care, but that it hid the long-term risks of head injuries. The players want compensatory damages and medical monitoring. The league’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, said that the decision-makers with the NHL aren’t entering into negotiations as quickly as the NFL did or with the same desire to resolve the case.
According to the NHL players, the league should have known, or knew, that brain trauma leads to neurological problems. While hockey is a bit different from other contact sports, such as football and boxing, it still involved repetitive blows to the head and bare-knuckle fighting.
The NHL players in the lawsuit report that they have suffered headaches, memory loss, and Parkinson’s disease. They are also worried about dementia and CTE. Defenseman Steve Montador of the Buffalo Sabres suffered 15 concussions –- that were documented, anyway -– and CTE was found after he died at the age of 35.
The NHL says that there is no evidence that links head trauma to degenerative brain disease. While there is enough suspicion to warrant further studies, there is no scientifically established causal link, according to the director of the University at Buffalo’s Concussion Management Clinic.
Team Owners Worried About Player Impact of Concussions
The former owner of the Sabres wrote to Commissioner Bettman that he was concerned about the NHL’s standard to allow violent hits to the head. In 2010, Rule 48 penalized targeted, blindside head shots. A year later, Rule 48 would address all intentional head shots.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered a Concussion Related to Pro Sports?
If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion related to professional sports, you or the individual's family may be able to seek compensation. An experienced attorney can provide more information on how to proceed.
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