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NHL Players Are Suing The League For Brain Injuries

Retired National Hockey League players like Bryan Berard have been taking their former league to court in recent months in an effort to get compensation for the repeated brain injuries and concussions they received throughout their years of playing. Berard, in particular, suffered at least five concussions and went blind in one eye during his career, and he’s dedicated his lawsuit to his recently passed friend, Jeff Parker.

The NHL’s Problem

Of all the national team sports with a major governing body, the NHL arguably the most aggressive. It’s true enough that hockey doesn’t have a dozen people lining up to smash their heads and shoulders into each other, but the sport almost seems to encourage and glorify dirty tricks like tripping each other with hockey sticks and random acts of violence like fistfights. Sure, players who get caught doing these things will get sent to the penalty box, but the audience has come to expect this violence and coaches often designate players to act violent and disrupt the other team.

Because of all this violence, it’s no real surprise that hockey players suffer a similar level of injuries as football players, including head and brain injuries. They also have a similar amount of padding and protection, but padding can only do so much to prevent concussions. And when a sport encourages players to slam into each other and even attack each other, those concussions are going to happen.

An Old Issue With New Visibility

Much like how the NHL and the NFL share their aggression in common, the NHL is also following the NFL’s lead when it comes to the lawsuits players are bringing against their old teams and the league organizers in general. Thousands of former NFL players came together to sue the league for downplaying the seriousness of concussions and brain injuries, and the NFL settled the suit for an estimated $1 billion.

NHL players are less fortunate, because a judge has ruled that they can’t combine their forces in a class-action lawsuit. However, many individual suits are moving forward, including the one brought up by Bryan B2>erard. These NHL suits may even affect Florida: the state might not get any snow in the winter, but it still has an NHL team, the Florida Panthers, based in the Miami area.

A Problem For More Than Just National Leagues

As the biggest hockey league in America, the NHL is definitely getting the most press, but the aggressive playing style they encourage doesn’t begin and end with them. Smaller leagues, whether they’re professional, college, or high school, also encourage this play style. They may have stricter rules to protect the players, but the tactics themselves need to change in order to fully protect the players, and until those tactics change the players may be vulnerable and the league organizers may be responsible for their injuries.

Players from these smaller leagues may never get a paycheck for playing, but their injuries are just as real as the biggest NHL star. And while it can be hard to connect a chronic mental problem to a specific brain injury, we are far past the point when sports leagues can claim that concussions have no lasting side effects.

As such, if you or a close loved one is suffering from a chronic injury or disorder related to a sports-caused traumatic brain injury, you may be able to bring a case against the league that encouraged the rough behavior that caused the problem. If you also live in Port Charlotte or elsewhere in southwest Florida, you should contact the All Injuries Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We have extensive experience with traumatic brain injury cases, and we may be able to help you.