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Son of a Wing

10 former players sue NHL for concussions

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WASHINGTON — Ten former National Hockey League players are claiming in a class-action lawsuit that the league hasn’t done enough to protect players from concussions.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Washington, seeks damages to be determined at trial. The players are also seeking court-approved medical monitoring for their brain trauma and/or injuries, which they blame on their NHL careers.

The suit comes just three months after the National Football League agreed to pay $765 million to settle lawsuits from thousands of former players who developed dementia or other concussion-related health problems.

The ex-hockey players claim that the NHL purposely concealed the risks of brain injuries faced by players, exposing them to unnecessary dangers.

The NHL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

LINK

Players Involved:

Gary Leeman, Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Bob Manno, Blair Stewart, Morris Titanic and Rick Vaive.

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As a preemptive warning, let's keep the conversation well away from any political discussion.

This will likely go down the same road as the NFL. The central issues are really accepting risks to play versus understand exactly what those risks are. And if the NHL did anything to actively hide those risks.

And on a side note, man Rick Vaive is a name I haven't heard in a long time. Brings back memories of the Leafs Wings rivalry in the 80s.

Son of a Wing likes this

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It'll be interesting to know the details of this case and whether the players involved made applications to the league regarding their injuries and requesting financial assistance.

It is part of the reason the Players Emergency Fund was created. I know this from personal experience as my father receives a thousand dollar cheque every month because he needed hip surgery a few years ago and they associated it with his NHL career.

By the looks of it though they are going for a much larger amount for a much larger spectrum of players. Hence the class action and the reports of the NHL concealing information.

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Sooner than I expected this but I don't think anything will come out of this. Everyone is aware that hockey is fast dangerous and sometimes violent.

The NFL just paid out a $765 million settlement. I wouldn't say it is unlikely that the league will end up paying.

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Preemptive response to all the desperate shut-ins who want to say, "Hockey is a violent game; you don't have to play": go outside, get a girlfriend.

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The League hates negative publicity; time for them to warm up the "spin doctors". I can almost hear Uncle Gary now: "This issue is being given unwarranted attention and it's not as big a deal as some people think it is".

This will turn out to be huge.

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Sooner than I expected this but I don't think anything will come out of this. Everyone is aware that hockey is fast dangerous and sometimes violent.

The NFL just paid out a $765 million settlement. I wouldn't say it is unlikely that the league will end up paying.

Yeah, but different leagues with different circumstances. Football is at times physical but in terms of speed its not even comparable to hockey.

Hockeyplayers should know what to expect and sometimes the result isn't pretty.

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Curt Bennet's first wife is IPhone's "Siri".

In my mid '40's and in the early phases of Lou Gehrig's disease , so I've been following the NFL findings ("League of Denial" documentary and the findings on CTE, etc).

After a lifetime of football, hockey, mountain bike, and dirt bike concussions, I was always told by my neuros that concussions have nothing to do with ALS, but the NFL science shows otherwise. Hmm.

In the beginning I was suspecting it was mostly politically driven, but now I'm convinced there is something to the science.

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The NHL didn't respond to requests for comment, but earlier this year, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "We have, on our own, a long history, going back to 1997, of taking concussions very seriously. We spend a lot of time, money and effort working with the players' association on player safety."

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Yeah, but different leagues with different circumstances. Football is at times physical but in terms of speed its not even comparable to hockey.Hockeyplayers should know what to expect and sometimes the result isn't pretty.

I don't have an opinion on whether the plaintiffs should prevail. I'm just saying, at the very least, the players have an actionable claim. Granted, I haven't read the complaint. However, I have a pretty good idea of what is included. The speed of the game is immaterial here. If it can be proven that the NHL was aware that players played while concussed, I would say that is a breach of duty if they did nothing to curtail such behavior.

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This isn't bloodsport, it's a business. If your employer doesn't do absolutely everything in their power to keep you safe on the job, they're liable to get sued. Put it this way, just because you work in a coal mine doesn't mean your employer doesn't have to give you a gas mask, or pump clean air into the mine. Have we seriously taken such a step back in terms of labor relations that we think employees have no rights just because they "chose" to work in a particular industry?

Would any of you be ok with it if your coworker gave you a concussion at work and your employer said "you knew it was a tough job when you took it"? Obviously not.

roboturner, Nev, marcaractac and 1 other like this

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This isn't bloodsport, it's a business. If your employer doesn't do absolutely everything in their power to keep you safe on the job, they're liable to get sued. Put it this way, just because you work in a coal mine doesn't mean your employer doesn't have to give you a gas mask, or pump clean air into the mine. Have we seriously taken such a step back in terms of labor relations that we think employees have no rights just because they "chose" to work in a particular industry?

Would any of you be ok with it if your coworker gave you a concussion at work and your employer said "you knew it was a tough job when you took it"? Obviously not.

I'm sorry but it is the players themselves that are hurting each other. Play the game hard but do not put your elbow in the air, hit your fellow coworker in the head, and then claim it was the NHL's fault you did that.

The players do not take responsibility for their own actions. They ***** if they get suspeneded but want punishment, and they complain about the league when it's members of their own union that are putting each other out of action.

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I'm sorry but it is the players themselves that are hurting each other. Play the game hard but do not put your elbow in the air, hit your fellow coworker in the head, and then claim it was the NHL's fault you did that.

The players do not take responsibility for their own actions. They ***** if they get suspeneded but want punishment, and they complain about the league when it's members of their own union that are putting each other out of action.

Well unless you're a Roman Gladiator it's the responsibility of your employer to make sure you're safe at work. That's true of every job in the civilized world, and it's true of hockey. I don't think it's too much for the players to ask that they be able to have a career in hockey without suffering severe brain injuries as a result.

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Well unless you're a Roman Gladiator it's the responsibility of your employer to make sure you're safe at work. That's true of every job in the civilized world, and it's true of hockey. I don't think it's too much for the players to ask that they be able to have a career in hockey without suffering severe brain injuries as a result.

Then the players need to make that commitment to each other first.

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I'm sorry but it is the players themselves that are hurting each other. Play the game hard but do not put your elbow in the air, hit your fellow coworker in the head, and then claim it was the NHL's fault you did that.

The players do not take responsibility for their own actions. They ***** if they get suspeneded but want punishment, and they complain about the league when it's members of their own union that are putting each other out of action.

Then the players need to make that commitment to each other first.

It doesn't have to be a headshot or an elbow to give a guy a concussion.

By just "playing hard" there are still going to be plenty of concussions. I don't understand your point...

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This isn't bloodsport, it's a business. If your employer doesn't do absolutely everything in their power to keep you safe on the job, they're liable to get sued. Put it this way, just because you work in a coal mine doesn't mean your employer doesn't have to give you a gas mask, or pump clean air into the mine. Have we seriously taken such a step back in terms of labor relations that we think employees have no rights just because they "chose" to work in a particular industry?

Would any of you be ok with it if your coworker gave you a concussion at work and your employer said "you knew it was a tough job when you took it"? Obviously not.

Hear me out:

I am all for employee rights and that stuff (i.e supporting players in the lockout) but I think if someone is a professional hockeyplayer they know what to expect. Like someone else mentioned, it is the players themselves who just can't keep their ellbow down and heck (ie. Lupul) some are going into practise without the proper safety gear on. This is of course a difficult matter and if there is even the slighest possiblity of reducing concussion and keeping the players safer without making hockey into soccer, I am all for it.

Granted, I haven't read the lawsuit but one also has to keep in mind the different technology nowadays and back then. Should it come out, that some teams wanted the players to play WITH a concussion well then nothing to talk about and the lawsuit claims hopefully win. Toying around with players health should and can never be an option, no matter how important the points are health > hockey.

That's my stance on it.

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Hear me out:

I am all for employee rights and that stuff (i.e supporting players in the lockout) but I think if someone is a professional hockeyplayer they know what to expect. Like someone else mentioned, it is the players themselves who just can't keep their ellbow down and heck (ie. Lupul) some are going into practise without the proper safety gear on. This is of course a difficult matter and if there is even the slighest possiblity of reducing concussion and keeping the players safer without making hockey into soccer, I am all for it.

Granted, I haven't read the lawsuit but one also has to keep in mind the different technology nowadays and back then. Should it come out, that some teams wanted the players to play WITH a concussion well then nothing to talk about and the lawsuit claims hopefully win. Toying around with players health should and can never be an option, no matter how important the points are health > hockey.

That's my stance on it.

Sure, and you've made some reasonable points. But as someone else said, it's kind of a misnomer to suggest that concussions are only the result of elbows and dirty hits. Plenty of concussions are simply the result of how fast the game is, which is something the NHL can control for the safety of the player. Furthermore, the "they know what to expect" argument may or may not be true, but it doesn't really matter. Just because you knew your industry is dangerous doesn't mean your employer doesn't have to do everything necessary to mitigate danger. I was in the Army for a long time, deployed overseas and all that. Pretty dangerous job obviously, and I knew it was. But because I knew it was dangerous doesn't mean the military doesn't have to enforce safety policies, or protect soldiers from each other (e.g. sexual assaults), or conduct investigations into long term side effects of military career (e.g. veteran suicide rates), etc. Saying "you knew what to expect" doesn't matter in the most dangerous industry on earth, and it shouldn't matter in hockey either.

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Leagues lawyers - "A lawsuit? Really judge? They are screwed in the head!"

Judge (after the check clears) - "Yup, they are definetly brain damaged. Case dismissed"

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Hockey is, in my opinion, easily the most dangerous of major league sports you can play. You earn big money in the process, but you're going to get a battering along the way from pucks, sticks, hits, fights, the ice, the boards...especially if you played when helmets weren't mandatory. A hard way to earn a very decent living with a hell of a lot of risk.

Don't like the risk? A desk job option is always there. Not much risk from a photocopier.

Edited by haroldsnepsts
to remove off-topic content

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To try and redirect the conversation a bit, I'll reiterate the points that the players' lawsuit is arguing:


Among other things, the suit claims that:

• The NHL knew or should have known about scientific evidence that players who sustain repeated head injuries are at greater risk for illnesses and disabilities both during their hockey careers and later in life.

• Even after the NHL created a concussion program to study brain injuries affecting NHL players in 1997, the league took no action to reduce the number and severity of concussions during a study period from 1997 to 2004. "Plaintiffs relied on the NHL's silence to their detriment," the suit says.

• The league didn't do anything to protect players from unnecessary harm until 2010, when it made it a penalty to target a player's head.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/10036795/former-players-sue-nhl-concussions

So the points about "don't like the risks, don't play the game" are missing the point.

Whether you agree or not, the players position is that they were not aware of the full risks of head injuries and their impact later in life. So they weren't able to make an informed choice to accept those risks.

The other points are saying the league didn't make enough of an effort to learn about the risks and once they started studying them, took over 10 years to make any effort to reduce headshots.

For people interested, Frontline had a great documentary on the NHL and concussions a few weeks ago. It covers the evolution of awareness in the game, the study of the head injuries, and the NFL's stance on it over the years.

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Hockey is, in my opinion, easily the most dangerous of major league sports you can play. You earn big money in the process, but you're going to get a battering along the way from pucks, sticks, hits, fights, the ice, the boards...especially if you played when helmets weren't mandatory. A hard way to earn a very decent living with a hell of a lot of risk.

Don't like the risk? A desk job option is always there. Not much risk from a photocopier.

But man - them paper cuts...OUCH!

On a serious note - not really surprised by the lawsuit filed...Not sure where I stand; part of me sorta feels sorry for the guys that had multiple concussions, and may have lingering issues, but on the other hand - it is the NHL, and no matter what the league tries to do to reduce these concussions - players are still lining up to play the game, and have no trouble spending the $$$ they've earned.

EDIT - as some others have already pointed out - the only way I would see a considerable reduction in the number of concussions would be banning both fighting, AND hitting from all levels of the game.

Edited by F.Michael

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