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NHL sued for not doing enough to protect players from head injuries

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NHL players risk concussions. 
( Benjamin Reed )

Ten ex-ice hockey players have sued the National Hockey League (NHL) for not taking enough steps to protect players from head injuries.

The case has been filed in Washington, which is on behalf of players who have already retired on or before February 14 this year, and have suffered head injuries or concussions.

This case is definitely new to the NHL but such a case has already hit the sporting world. Around three months back, the National Football League (NFL) agreed to pay a compensation of $765 million to settle lawsuits from many former football players who either developed dementia or health problems related to head injuries.

The lawsuit also points out that the league either knows, or should know about the scientific evidence that players who suffer regular head injuries are at a higher risk of illness and other potential disabilities during their careers or after retiring.

In 1997, the NHL created a concussion program which studies the effect of head injuries on players, but the league never took any action to reduce the number as well as severity of the concussion during the study period of 1997 to 2004.

However, in 2010 the NHL made it a penalty if a player targets another player’s head.

“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,” said the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also argues that the NHL also continues to contribute to potential injuries even today as it refuses to ban fighting and body-checking. Moreover, the league has also been accused of promoting a “culture of violence,” and sometimes players are also praised for fighting.

Gary Leeman, an ice hockey player, who played for several NHL teams and is one of the players who have filed the lawsuit, played for the league from 1983 to 1999 and suffered multiple concussions and sub-concussive impacts during the course of his hockey career. Leeman claims that after he retired, he suffered from post-traumatic head syndrome, headaches, memory loss and dizziness as a result of head injuries caused during his hockey career.

In addition to Leeman, other former players who have filed the lawsuit are Bradley Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Robert Manno, Blair James Stewart, Morris Titanic and Rick Vaive.




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