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NHL sued by ex-players over concussion issues.


DaGreatGazoo
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.


Edited by DaGreatGazoo
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Ya had to know this was coming. I think the basis for the judgement (or did they cut a deal?) in the NFL players' lawsuit was that the NFL had studied this issue extensively, yet failed to share what it knew. I guess we'll find out at trial whether and when the NHL had this type of knowledge, but one would reasonably assume that it did and around the same time.

Part of me feels like this is the same as smokers suing tobacco companies because there wasn't a warning label before 1960-whatever.

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I don't have much respect for this. I didn't with the NFL suit either. I just really have a problem with people participating in what they know is a high speed contact sport and then acting like "who knew there was danger?" I'm sorry that they suffer from concussions. Really. I don't wish that on anyone. But this just seems like a disingenuous money grab.

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@sarsippius

@ruxpin

I don't think they're acting like they didn't know there was a danger. Even though at the time, concussions were just a really intense blackout and weren't linked to long-term brain damage.

I think they're saying, like NFL players, that at some point, the league *did* know how damaging it was and didn't disclose it to players, and didn't do enough to protect them from getting said concussions.

It's all about informed consent. How can I consent to a dangerous activity when I am not properly and fully informed of the dangers?

You can bet that if people start getting tumours because of cell phone usage, and studies can prove there is a clear link, and cell phone makers *knew* about the dangers and didn't disclose it, there will be class action lawsuits.

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So the 10 players filing the lawsuit are:  Gary Leeman, Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Bob Manno, Blair Stewart, Morris Titanic and Rick Vaive.

 

The suit alleges that, “for decades, the NHL has nurtured a culture of violence” and “purposefully profits” from it. “The time has come for the NHL to elevate long-term player safety over profit and tradition,” it states.
 
While the legal case is a new development for the league, concussions have been a topic of concern – and argument – since the mid-1990s.
 
In the claim, the plaintiffs allege the league endangered its players by speeding up the game and moving to more rigid glass on the arena boards despite evidence the changes contributed to more injuries – and take aim at the continued acceptance of fighting.
 
“The NHL persists in this conduct to date by, among other things, refusing to ban fighting and body checking and by continuing to employ hockey players whose main function is to fight or violently body check players on the other team,” it says.
 
The suit also claims “a player can sustain close to one thousand or more hits to the head in one season without any documented incapacitating concussion. Such repeated blows result in permanently impaired brain function.” The players allege that the NHL knew this and did not tell them, then refused to do anything about it, which amounts to “willful and malicious conduct.”
 
The suit, filed on Monday, alleges the league “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.”
 
---  Deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement late on Monday, “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. We intend to defend the case vigorously.”

 

source

 
imo, this suit can maybe finally address some areas for concern that have not been *fixed thus far - such as removing the railing and developing a more flexible glass, better helmets, and stiffer penalties for removing ones helmet while on the ice.
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@sarsippius

@ruxpin

I don't think they're acting like they didn't know there was a danger. Even though at the time, concussions were just a really intense blackout and weren't linked to long-term brain damage.

I think they're saying, like NFL players, that at some point, the league *did* know how damaging it was and didn't disclose it to players, and didn't do enough to protect them from getting said concussions.

It's all about informed consent. How can I consent to a dangerous activity when I am not properly and fully informed of the dangers?

You can bet that if people start getting tumours because of cell phone usage, and studies can prove there is a clear link, and cell phone makers *knew* about the dangers and didn't disclose it, there will be class action lawsuits.

 

 

I buy all of that, I guess.  But I'm not sure I like the cell phone as an analogy.  I've been up for roughly 48 hours straight and have "hit a wall" so I'm not sure my explanation will be coherent (even by my usual standards).

 

For me, the use of a cell phone has no inherent known danger in buying and using a cell phone.  You're simply texting or using facebook or watching movies or listening to music or surfing the web (and if you're not a teenager, you might actually use it to make a phone call!).   If it were to cause tumors, this would be completely out of the scope of any of the above tasks/uses.   I mean, all you're doing is accepting a friend request from someone you haven't even nodded at since high school.  The only potential risk you thought you might be assuming is being incessantly invited either to Candy Crush Saga or Birthdays.

 

Not sure how it works elsewhere, but here when you sign  your kids up for school sports, you sign a release of assumed risk.  If the child  is hurt in anyway during the course of playing that sport, the school, its trustees, the board, and its insurance are not liable.

 

Johnny Slapshot signs up to play hockey.  You have grown men on an ever-shrinking (proportionately) ice surface surrounded by boards with knives on their feet carrying lumber with blades shooting a hard rubber object all over the place at 60-100 MPH (sorry too tired to convert to KPH or KPM or whatever Canada does).  So Johnny Slapshot goes onto that ice with the understanding that very bad things CAN happen.

 

Now, there is some merit to what you said, and I think there is a very good chance the court would agree with you or probably the NFL would not have settled (the PR/optics of fighting injured people aside).   *IF* the NHL knew at some point the Johnny Slapshot had a concussion and didn't let him know about the dangers of going back out before the danger had lessened...[full stop]

 

You know what? I don't like the cell phone thing, but I guess that last line is what this is about.

 

Pretend for a moment that Johnny didn't get his "bell rung."  Pretend instead that Johnny had his femoral artery cut by a skate blade.  Somehow it wasn't yet common knowledge that you had to get that thing cauterized, the bleeding stopped, and watch for blood clots but the team/league officials KNEW and not only let him go back out but possibly forced or cajoled him to.  Then it's no longer assumed risk.  Now it's placing your trust in the medical staff and team/league management to look out for your well-being and them deliberately failing to do so for whatever reason.

 

I'm not sure my "school" thing above is relevant at that point because, even in the case of the school, if the issue is resulting from what amounts to criminal negligence then the school's indemnity (or that of the league/team/medical staff in the issue at hand)  is probably negated.  Ultimately, it's not the injury that is being questioned--that falls under assumed risk--it's the knowing and willful lack of proper treatment and care after the fact.

 

Sorry, had an epiphany mid-post.   All of this to say, yeah, I guess I ultimately have to agree with you, Brelic.

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@ruxpin

 

But....the NHL ALSO has responsibility for making the game safer to minimize know reoccurring injuries.  For example a ordinary company needs to put rugs by doorways to prevent slippage, or they need to shovel snow by sidewalks.  

Thus the league could be responsible for not making helmets mandatory years earlier, or penalizing players years ago for allowing players to remove helmets when fighting.  Visors also were not mandatory until recently.

 

IMO the league has been negligent in areas of player safety. 

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@ruxpin

 

But....the NHL ALSO has responsibility for making the game safer to minimize know reoccurring injuries.  For example a ordinary company needs to put rugs by doorways to prevent slippage, or they need to shovel snow by sidewalks.  

Thus the league could be responsible for not making helmets mandatory years earlier, or penalizing players years ago for allowing players to remove helmets when fighting.  Visors also were not mandatory until recently.

 

IMO the league has been negligent in areas of player safety. 

 

See, I hear you, but that is the part I cannot get on board with.   Putting rugs by doorways is not in the same vein as deliberately going on ice (i won't rehash all the dangers) and throwing your body around.  If we're going with workplace ideas, maybe guards on machines is slightly more apt.  

 

Yes, the league is starting to do the things you mentioned to try to cut down on the instances, but ultimately it's the same as thinking you're going to stop a terrorist by outlawing box cutters.   Because the helmet will protect one, to a certain extent, from hitting their head on the ice or the boards, but it's going to do nothing for the heavy hit to the upper body when one's neck isn't straight or a plethora of other circumstances that will cause a concussion.  The best way, ultimately, to eliminate a hockey player's risk of concussion is to not let him play hockey.

 

Every little bit helps, so certainly the visors, the helmets, trying to cut down on certain types of hits, etc., are a good thing.  But to me, it's like suing a car company for not having seat belts before they were mandatory.  It doesn't float for me.

 

The situation that I described to brelic, however, does because it (to me) is a more clear cut example of not only willful negligence but outright deceit.  I just wonder how many folks were hurt and were sent back out way too soon, exposing them to even greater danger.  If the league knew of that exponential threat and continued saying "Johnny, you just got your bell rung; get back out there" then that's a problem.

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Sorry, had an epiphany mid-post.   All of this to say, yeah, I guess I ultimately have to agree with you, Brelic.

Haha, reading that post was great. ;) Stream of consciousness!

Now, there is some merit to what you said, and I think there is a very good chance the court would agree with you or probably the NFL would not have settled (the PR/optics of fighting injured people aside).   *IF* the NHL knew at some point the Johnny Slapshot had a concussion and didn't let him know about the dangers of going back out before the danger had lessened...[full stop]

 

You know what? I don't like the cell phone thing, but I guess that last line is what this is about.

Yes, that's what I was getting at with the cell phone analogy. I agree it's not the best when you talk about common sense and that any player *should* know that hockey is dangerous. But it was more about the industry (or employer and governing body in the case of the NHL) failing to disclose information to its players once it had it. I suspect that the NHL, NFL, tobacco companies, etc, just figure that in to their cost of doing business. It's better to be occasionally sued and settle out of court than it is to fully disclose everything and have your entire business model (your golden goose) end up in shambles (prohibitively high insurance costs or no insurance at all, professional and medical scrutiny and interference, external regulations, red tape, public outcry, etc). Not every player will end up with post-concussion problems, and of those who do, not all of them are going to sue the organization that rewarded them very handsomely to take those risks. So, you take your lumps and pay out millions of dollars to save your multi-billion dollar industry.

Not sure how it works elsewhere, but here when you sign  your kids up for school sports, you sign a release of assumed risk.  If the child  is hurt in anyway during the course of playing that sport, the school, its trustees, the board, and its insurance are not liable.

I'm not sure my "school" thing above is relevant at that point because even in the case of the school, if the issue is resulting from what amounts to criminal negligence the school's--or the league/team/medical staff in the issue at hand--indemnity is probably negated.

Exactly. I've dealt with that many times. A waiver is not worth the paper on which it's printed. In cases of negligence, they're negated EVEN when the waiver tried to get "negligence" waived. In fact, there was a landmark decision in BC a few years ago where a parent signed a liability waiver (including waiving the right to sue, which is a very common clause) so her 10-year old son could enroll in martial arts. At some point, the child was seriously injured. Many years later, the child developed a chronic condition because of the injury.

Now in adulthood, the child sued the martial arts school, and the court sided with him, ruling that a parent cannot sign away their child's right to sue in the future. That was another blow to waivers.

How many players get injured when they whack their heads or face or teeth on the edge of the boards? Don Cherry has been saying for years that part of the board should be padded. Products exist that are relatively unobtrusive and apparently save players from damage. They are in use in some leagues.

So say a player gets whacked that way a few times in the NHL, and once he's retired, develops some condition. It's hard to prove that those particular hits led to his condition, but it's pretty easy to prove that the NHL could have taken precautions, products existed to mitigate those kinds of injuries, and they chose not to take action.

Remember that Chara hit on Pacioretty?

That part of the upright glass between the players benches has padding on the vertical portion where Pacioretty hit. Can you imagine if it didn't? And for a long time, there was nothing. It was just metal and glass. A small change probably saved what would have been a more severe injury. SO a series of small changes here and there show the league is serious about protecting its players.

But I don't see that with concussions/headshots. I mean, I think Downie's suspension for the McCammond hit remains the longest for that kind of head hit. The league did not follow through with progressively more meaningful suspensions.. in fact, they got lighter.

What message does that send?

Guess it's my turn to get long-winded!

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If it can be proven that the league knew about long term affects of concussions and deliberately withheld information from the players at the time they were playing then the players should be compensated.  My problem is these players taking information about concussions that has been recently gathered and applying it to when they played.   To me that information or "evidence" should be thrown out.   It wasn't available to the league at the time they played and should not be considered.   I'm sorry for what they (and their families) are going through but that doesn't automatically entitle you to money from someone else unless they can prove at the time they used deception or withholding tactics of medical information regarding concussion. 

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@ruxpin

 

But....the NHL ALSO has responsibility for making the game safer to minimize know reoccurring injuries.  For example a ordinary company needs to put rugs by doorways to prevent slippage, or they need to shovel snow by sidewalks.  

Thus the league could be responsible for not making helmets mandatory years earlier, or penalizing players years ago for allowing players to remove helmets when fighting.  Visors also were not mandatory until recently.

 

IMO the league has been negligent in areas of player safety. 

 

Yet every time the league has taken steps to improve player safety there is pushback from the players and criticism from fans.

 

When helments became mandatory it had to be grandfathered in...

When the debate about visors becoming mandatory is raised there is an outcry from the players who don't wear them...

There is still an element among players, media and fans that feel the league's efforts to curb head shots and maybe even (gasp) ban figting altogether is "sissifying" the game...

 

I think @ruxpin is spot on. Any player - past or present - who doesn't/didn't understand the risks of playing hockey is/was really naive.  I/M/H/O - that makes this suit a money grab - pure and simple. The NFL got theirs so "we" need to get ours. Caveat: If this was about a lack of adequate medical care - which was a big part of the NFL suit - then it's a different story.  But saying the league should have known? No one knew back then - not even doctors - about the true long term effects of concussions.

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Posted · Hidden by hf101, November 28, 2013 - duplicate
Hidden by hf101, November 28, 2013 - duplicate

@ruxpin

 

But....the NHL ALSO has responsibility for making the game safer to minimize know reoccurring injuries.  For example a ordinary company needs to put rugs by doorways to prevent slippage, or they need to shovel snow by sidewalks.  

Thus the league could be responsible for not making helmets mandatory years earlier, or penalizing players years ago for allowing players to remove helmets when fighting.  Visors also were not mandatory until recently.

 

IMO the league has been negligent in areas of player safety. 

 

Yet every time the league has taken steps to improve player safety there is pushback from the players and criticism from fans.

 

When helments became mandatory it had to be grandfathered in...

When the debate about visors becoming mandatory is raised there is an outcry from the players who don't wear them...

There is still an element among players, media and fans that feel the league's efforts to curb head shots and maybe even (gasp) ban figting altogether is "sissifying" the game...

 

I think @ruxpin is spot on. Any player - past or present - who doesn't/didn't understand the risks of playing hockey is/was really naive.  I/M/H/O - that makes this suit a money grab - pure and simple. The NFL got theirs so "we" need to get ours. Caveat: If this was about a lack of adequate medical care - which was a big part of the NFL suit - then it's a different story.  But saying the league should have known? No one knew back then - not even doctors - about the true long term effects of concussions.

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There is still an element among players, media and fans that feel the league's efforts to curb head shots and maybe even (gasp) ban figting altogether is "sissifying" the game...

 

Well then that is part of the negligence of the NHL not to be able to showcase the sport without the head injuries.  It would be no different in any employment if an employer chose not to up the safety standards for known hazards if it cost them money.   

 

Basically about 1/3 of the concussions result from fighting.  Over the last 20 years what has the NHL done to prevent those concussions?  WE all know the NHL had info then about the damage caused from repeated head injuries.

 


I think @ruxpin is spot on. Any player - past or present - who doesn't/didn't understand the risks of playing hockey is/was really naive. 

 

But that doesn't release the NHL from negligence.  How often did player x who suffered a concussion and sat out a game or so and then was told to man up and play for his team otherwise face demotion?

 

 

Here is a good read:  A Timeline Of Concussion Science And NFL Denial

The NHL had to had some of this info also.  Here is the timeline:

 

 

1933: The NCAA's medical handbook is distributed to all member schools. It warns that concussions are treated too lightly, and recommends that concussed players receive rest and constant supervision, and not be allowed to play or practice until symptoms have been gone for 48 hours. For symptoms lasting longer than 48 hours, it recommends players "not be permitted to compete for 21 days or longer, if at all."

 
1937: At its annual meeting, the American Football Coaches Association declares that concussed players should immediately be taken out of a game. "Sports demanding personal contact should be eliminated after an individual has suffered a concussion."
 
1952: A study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine urges players who suffer three concussions to leave football forever for their own safety.
 
1973: The condition later named Second Impact Syndrome is first identified. It occurs when an athlete receives a concussion while still suffering the effects of a previous one, and according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Neurosurgery it carries a 90 percent mortality rate. "Those who do survive second impact syndrome are neurologically devastated," reports the director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Children's Hospital Boston.
 
1991: The Colorado Medical Society publishes a grading system for concussion severity and establishes strict guidelines for allowing players back into the game. It is quickly incorporated by the NCAA and high school football.
 
1994: The NFL acknowledges the danger of concussions for the first time, forming the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. It is co-chaired by Elliot Pellman, a rheumatologist who claimed to have a degree from Stony Brook. (He didn't. He attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico.) Pellman is the Jets' team doctor. He's also commissioner Paul Tagliabue's personal doctor.
 
The MTBI committee begins an ongoing study of brain trauma, but mysteriously discards results from hundreds of NFL players. The director of the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory says "the data that hasn't shown up makes their work questionable industry-funded research."
 
Pellman reportedly tells one doctor on his team, "Don't talk to the press." He also tells Sports Illustrated, "Concussions are part of the profession, an occupational risk" and says a football player is "like a steelworker who goes up 100 stories, or a soldier."
 
1995: Pellman tries to speed up Boomer Esiason's return from a concussion. He uses an unproven system that involves the QB sitting in front of a computer screen and concentrating. Says Pellman:
 
"Imagine the equivalent of having a head filled with marbles knocked around after a hit. The biofeedback is trying to put them back in the same order. But we haven't had control studies to show whether the improvement is measurable."
1997: The American Academy of Neurology publishes its own guidelines for players returning to action after being concussed. It recommends removing players knocked unconscious from a game. The NFL later rejects the guidelines, with one of its consultants saying, "We see people all the time that get knocked out briefly and have no symptoms."
 
1999: The NFL's retirement board quietly begins giving out millions in disability payments to former players suffering cognitive decline, finding that they had become "totally disabled" due to "league football activities."
 
2000: A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting finds that 61 percent of former NFL players sustained concussions, with 79 percent of those injured saying they had not been forced to leave the game. Furthermore:
 
49% of the former players had numbness or tingling; 28% had neck or cervical spine arthritis; 31% had difficulty with memory; 16% were unable to dress themselves; and 11% were unable to feed themselves;
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tells ESPN he'd push Troy Aikman to play through concussions "since all data that we have so far don’t point to any lasting effects, long-term effects from the head trauma." Aikman's career will be shortened by concussions.
 
2002: Dr. Bennet Omalu examines the brain of Mike Webster and sees a splotchy accumulation of tau protein, evidence of a brain disease that Omalu calls Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a neurological degenerative disease most often found in the brains of boxers, and provides a direct link between head trauma and dementia later in life. (A 2013 paper in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society will dispute that CTE is a unique disease.)
 
2003: A study of retired football players finds that having multiple concussions doubled their risk of developing depression later in life.
 
Meanwhile, the MTBI committee releases the first results of its study. It finds that concussions have no long-term health effects.
 
Wayne Chrebet is concussed during a game and examined by Pellman, the Jets physician and MTBI committee co-chair. Pellman reportedly tells Chrebet, "This is a very important for your career" and sends him back into the game. Chrebet's symptoms persist after the game, and he is placed on season-ending injured reserve.
 
2004: Justin Strzelczyk drives his car at 90 mph into a tractor-trailer. Just 36, he had been exhibiting erratic behavior for months. Omalu examines his brain and finds evidence of CTE.
 
2005: The MTBI committee releases more findings. Among the conclusions: "Return to play does not involve a significant risk of a second injury either in the same game or during the season."
 
A study by the UNC Center for the Study of Retired Athletes finds a connection between concussions and Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and depression in former NFL players. More, it finds a correlation between the long-term effects on the number of concussions the player suffered.
 
2005: A survey of retired NFLers finds a history of concussions makes a player five times as likely to suffer cognitive impairment.
 
2005: Omalu publishes the results of his examination of Webster's brain in the journal Neurosurgery. The MTBI committee attacks his report and demands that Neurosurgery retract the article.
 
2005: Terry Long commits suicide by drinking antifreeze. He is found to have CTE, and the medical examiner rules brain trauma a contributing factor in his death.
 
"The trauma, according to the death certificate, was a result of his injuries during his tenure as a football player. I think it is the same as what was on Mike Webster's death certificate."
2006: Andre Waters shoots himself in the head. Omalu examines his brain and says Waters had the brain tissue of an 85-year-old man.
 
2006: ESPN discontinues its "Jacked Up!" segment highlighting the hardest and most spectacular hits of the weekend's games.
 
2007: The UNC Center for the Study of Retired Athletes publishes a study linking concussions and depression in former NFL players. One member of the MTBI committee, a consultant for the Colts, calls the study "virtually worthless."
 
2007: Dr. Ira Casson, co-chairman of the MTBI, says in an interview on HBO Real Sports that there is no link between head injuries and depression, dementia, early onset Alzheimer's, or "any long term problems."
 
 
A pamphlet is distributed to the players and reads in part, "Current research with professional athletes has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is managed properly."
 
2008: An NFL-commissioned survey finds former players suffer Alzheimer's and dementia at a rate 19 times higher than for non-players between the ages of 30-49. The NFL calls the study inconclusive.
 
2009: For the first time, the NFL acknowledges the effects of head trauma. League spokesman Greg Aiello says, "It's quite obvious from the medical research that's been done that concussions can lead to long-term problems."
 
The first lawsuits against the league are filed. Over the next few years, they will balloon to nearly 250 cases and 5,000 plaintiffs, including former players from the 1940s.
 
2009: Chris Henry dies after either falling or jumping from a moving truck. His mother says he had been having headaches and mood swings. He is later diagnosed with CTE.
 
2010: Casson appears before Congress. He says CTE "has never been linked to athletics or head trauma."
 
The MTBI is disbanded and a new committee formed. The co-chair of the new committee has strong words for Pellman, Casson, and the MTBI's studies:
 
"We all had issues with some of the methodologies described, the inherent conflict of interest that was there in many areas, that was not acceptable by any modern standards or not acceptable to us. I wouldn’t put up with that, our universities wouldn’t put up with that, and we don’t want our professional reputations damaged by conflicts that were put upon us."
The NFL puts up posters in every locker room warning players of the effects of concussions, and announces penalties and fines for tackles that target the head.
 
2011: The NFL pressures Toyota to edit a commercial that cites new technology involved in lessening the risk of concussions.
 
Concussed players are still regularly sent back into games. One, San Diego's Kris Dielman, suffers a seizure on the team flight home.
 
2012: Junior Seau shoots himself in the chest. The National Institutes of Health finds that his brain had CTE.
 
2012: Of 35 brains of former NFL players donated to the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, 34 are found to have CTE.
 
2013: The lawsuits from former players suing the NFL are consolidated and settled, with the NFL paying out $765 million without admitting liability.
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I think @ruxpin is spot on. Any player - past or present - who doesn't/didn't understand the risks of playing hockey is/was really naive.  I/M/H/O - that makes this suit a money grab - pure and simple. The NFL got theirs so "we" need to get ours. Caveat: If this was about a lack of adequate medical care - which was a big part of the NFL suit - then it's a different story.  But saying the league should have known? No one knew back then - not even doctors - about the true long term effects of concussions.

There's a radio show in Canada called The Current and they ran a segment yesterday about this lawsuit. They spoke to the claimants' lawyer, and to Ken Dryden, and the segment gives more context on what exactly they are seeking.

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/11/27/former-nhl-players-say-nhl-should-have-protected-them-from-concussions/

Not sure if it will work for those outside of Canada.

But, basically, some of those guys (like Rick Vaive) are basically experiencing what Pronger is experiencing. It's preventing them from living a normal life... they can't work, can't enjoy activities with their family, they are light sensitive, they have constant headaches, blurred vision, depression. I mean, do you honestly think ANY player - especially of that era - ever thought that was one of the reasonable risks of playing hockey?

I've mentioned this before - and I only remember this story because at the time I thought "wow, that's effed up" - but Lindros was suffering from a concussion, he was on the bench, seeing yellow and told the trainer. He was told to go back on the ice. He was puking between periods. He was kept in the game, told he was ok.

Would any other medical professional honestly have said "Sure, just get right out there, Eric! You're fine!"?

My guess is that these players are arguing that some of the doctors / medical personnel for the league and teams made decisions that were not in the best interest of the player while having at least some passing knowledge of the dangers inherent in traumatic brain injury.

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Well then that is part of the negligence of the NHL not to be able to showcase the sport without the head injuries. It would be no different in any employment if an employer chose not to up the safety standards for known hazards if it cost them money.
 

Basically about 1/3 of the concussions result from fighting. Over the last 20 years what has the NHL done to prevent those concussions? WE all know the NHL had info then about the damage caused from repeated head injuries.

But that doesn't release the NHL from negligence. How often did player x who suffered a concussion and sat out a game or so and then was told to man up and play for his team otherwise face demotion?

 

Do you really think that if the NHL tried to ban fighting 20+ years ago or tried put in the rules it has regarding hits to the head and hits along the boards that these players would have gone along? Honestly - Bob Clarke and Dave Schultz and Bill Barber would have said "Yeah - sure! If it makes the game safer." The answer is a resounding "no way in h e l l." I will absolutely concede there were incidents like Lindros' but there is no way that you cannot concede that there were likely more incidents of players refusing to sit when being told they should. That means the players share any negligence with the league.

Here is a good read: A Timeline Of Concussion Science And NFL Denial
The NHL had to had some of this info also. Here is the timeline:

 

Actually, no - the NHL probably did not have some of that information. You are talking about random studies - some 20 years apart and 50-70 years ago. I don't think anyone from the NHL was reading the New England Journal of Medicine in 1952 or reading the Journal of Neurosurgery in 1973. The first real studies and documented cases come about around 15 years ago.

 

Could the league have done more in the last 15 years? Sure. Could the players have, too? Absolutely. The players would also have known about the specific cases cited in that link. Example: I know Hines Ward did. Mike Webster. Terry Long. Justin Strelczyk. All Steelers.  Want to know how many times Hines admitted to going back in a game with concussion symptons?  Google it. The Steelers finally had to resort to hiding his helmet.  If that went on in the NFL, it went on on the NHL, too. 

 

Again - players just as negligent.

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There's a radio show in Canada called The Current and they ran a segment yesterday about this lawsuit. They spoke to the claimants' lawyer, and to Ken Dryden, and the segment gives more context on what exactly they are seeking.

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/11/27/former-nhl-players-say-nhl-should-have-protected-them-from-concussions/

Not sure if it will work for those outside of Canada.

But, basically, some of those guys (like Rick Vaive) are basically experiencing what Pronger is experiencing. It's preventing them from living a normal life... they can't work, can't enjoy activities with their family, they are light sensitive, they have constant headaches, blurred vision, depression. I mean, do you honestly think ANY player - especially of that era - ever thought that was one of the reasonable risks of playing hockey?

 

No. Do you really think NHL medical personnel know this at the time as well?  There were neurologists during that time who didn't. 

I've mentioned this before - and I only remember this story because at the time I thought "wow, that's effed up" - but Lindros was suffering from a concussion, he was on the bench, seeing yellow and told the trainer. He was told to go back on the ice. He was puking between periods. He was kept in the game, told he was ok.

Would any other medical professional honestly have said "Sure, just get right out there, Eric! You're fine!"?

My guess is that these players are arguing that some of the doctors / medical personnel for the league and teams made decisions that were not in the best interest of the player while having at least some passing knowledge of the dangers inherent in traumatic brain injury.

 

This is the crux of my point. It's almost certain that the players had a "passing knowledge" as well.  I'm not a heart surgeon but I know that if I eat nothing but fried foods I am at a greater risk for heart disease. Can I sue my general practicioner if he never tells me that?

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B21, on 28 Nov 2013 - 10:32 PM, said:

This is the crux of my point. It's almost certain that the players had a "passing knowledge" as well. I'm not a heart surgeon but I know that if I eat nothing but fried foods I am at a greater risk for heart disease. Can I sue my general practicioner if he never tells me that?

Sure, the players share some responsibility as well. As you said in your previous post, there's definitely an element of 'warrior' mentality that had these guys go back into a game regardless of what the doctor tells them. I mean, didn't Lappy return to the game after getting that puck in the face? As Flyers fans, most of us were in awe that he would come back. JVR said it was the single bravest thing he'd ever seen in hockey. It was a huge emotional lift for the team.

But for those outside of the emotional bubble? My wife saw that and said "why is he back on the ice???? He definitely has a head injury, probably facial lacerations, his brain is susceptible to much more serious injury now." She's not even a doctor, but could objectively see that it was probably a VERY STUPID thing for Lappy to come back in that game.

With the knowledge that is now publicly available on concussions, post-concussion symptoms, brain studies, and a growing number of their peers they see with lingering problems, it's hard to say players don't have that passing knowledge. I'd say they have a ton of knowledge, or at least have access to it.

I'm not sure I agree entirely with the heart surgeon analogy. But sticking with food, let's say you eat foods that contain sodium nitrite (hot dogs, cold cuts, sausages, cured meats). Most people have eaten or eat these kinds of foods. Now, you know about the dangers of too much sodium, or too much fat. YOu know they can cause hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, clogged arteries, weight gain, etc.

But there's a growing body of evidence that links sodium nitrite with cancers. It's hard to argue that food producers are not aware of these studies... they directly affect their industry. So if they are aware of the (possible) dangers, and don't do anything to protect their consumers by seeking alternatives, are they liable for consumers who get cancer? Maybe, maybe not, but by doing nothing, they are leaving themselves open to litigation moreso than if they took demonstrable steps to eliminate sodium nitrite from the food chain.

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Sure, the players share some responsibility as well. As you said in your previous post, there's definitely an element of 'warrior' mentality that had these guys go back into a game regardless of what the doctor tells them. I mean, didn't Lappy return to the game after getting that puck in the face? As Flyers fans, most of us were in awe that he would come back. JVR said it was the single bravest thing he'd ever seen in hockey. It was a huge emotional lift for the team.

Which means they cannot hold the league responsible to the point where they are suing the league for damages when they themselves share the responsibility.

 

But for those outside of the emotional bubble? My wife saw that and said "why is he back on the ice???? He definitely has a head injury, probably facial lacerations, his brain is susceptible to much more serious injury now." She's not even a doctor, but could objectively see that it was probably a VERY STUPID thing for Lappy to come back in that game.

Same question I asked before....don't you think Lappy knew as well? At least had a passing knowledge? Especially now...

 

With the knowledge that is now publicly available on concussions, post-concussion symptoms, brain studies, and a growing number of their peers they see with lingering problems, it's hard to say players don't have that passing knowledge. I'd say they have a ton of knowledge, or at least have access to it.

I'm not sure I agree entirely with the heart surgeon analogy. But sticking with food, let's say you eat foods that contain sodium nitrite (hot dogs, cold cuts, sausages, cured meats). Most people have eaten or eat these kinds of foods. Now, you know about the dangers of too much sodium, or too much fat. YOu know they can cause hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, clogged arteries, weight gain, etc.

But there's a growing body of evidence that links sodium nitrite with cancers. It's hard to argue that food producers are not aware of these studies... they directly affect their industry. So if they are aware of the (possible) dangers, and don't do anything to protect their consumers by seeking alternatives, are they liable for consumers who get cancer? Maybe, maybe not, but by doing nothing, they are leaving themselves open to litigation moreso than if they took demonstrable steps to eliminate sodium nitrite from the food chain.

 

And the flip side - don't I as a consumer posess the ability know what is and is not good for me? Don't I have access to the published and available studies? Just watching the nightly news or perusing the internet will tell you a lot of this...and that's without really trying.  The same analogy in my mind makes the players partly culpable. "Maybe all these hits that blurr my vision is not a good thing and it's time to hang 'em up"....
 

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Which means they cannot hold the league responsible to the point where they are suing the league for damages when they themselves share the responsibility.

Well, sharing responsibility doesn't mean the league can't be held accountable for individual cases or collective cases in the past. I mean, we share responsibility with the automaker when driving their vehicles, but they can still be found liable for something in individual cases, just like the driver can be held liable in some cases.

Same question I asked before....don't you think Lappy knew as well? At least had a passing knowledge? Especially now...

Absolutely. I guess I wasn't clear, but I was trying to say that, yeah, he absolutely should have known better. But he's got the 'warrior' mentality... which is noble if someone's life is in danger. But this is hockey. There's a fine line between being a warrior in hockey and taking stupid risks with your health.

Let's say Lappy has symptoms for the rest of his life, and sues the league. I think the league would have a strong case in saying that he willingly put himself in harm's way when the dangers were well-documented, and the league had put measures in place, etc. Modern-day cases won't fly as much as those from the previous hockey era.

And the flip side - don't I as a consumer posess the ability know what is and is not good for me? Don't I have access to the published and available studies? Just watching the nightly news or perusing the internet will tell you a lot of this...and that's without really trying.

Sure. And maybe this is a case where a regulatory body could be held responsible for not protecting consumers enough (CFIA in Canada, not sure what your food inspection agency is in the US).

At the end of the day, yes, the player and the consumer need to accept the majority of the risk. They are the ones making the decisions of their own free will to buy certain foods, engage in certain activities, etc.

But what we're talking about here is a more narrow area where the employer would be aware of certain risk factors and then not act on it (i.e. remove fighting) because financial interests trump player security.

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