By Ken Reed

The NFL is facing major concussion-related litigation in the coming months. The NHL might not be far behind.

The family of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NHL, claiming the NHL was grossly negligent on multiple fronts. In particular, the Boogaard family’s lawyers claim the NHL failed to warn NHL players about the dangers of concussions, most notably the dangers of playing through concussions.

The lawsuit could be the impetus for additional lawsuits filed on behalf of former players suffering from the aftereffects of brain trauma incurred while playing hockey.

It could also eventually lead to fighting being banned once and for all in the NHL. (Can you believe that in 2013 we’re still talking about whether or not fighting should be banned in hockey?)

Thomas Demetrio, a lawyer representing the Boogaard family said, “This League needs to adapt and change so that a preventable tragedy like this never happens again. This lawsuit will unearth the failed policies that have led to the demise of so many NHL Fighters and bring to light the need for meaningful change in the NHL so that families, like the Boogaards, can rest easier knowing that their loved ones are safe.”

Here’s hoping this Boogaard suit ends up carrying that kind of clout.

* * *

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the concussion front, Patrick Hruby has written an excellent piece about the NFL curiously keeping discredited doctor, Elliot Pellman, in the fold. You may recall that Pellman, who at one time headed up the leagues committee on concussions, once said concussions in professional football “are not serious injuries,” and that “many [concussed] players can be safely allowed to return to play on the day of injury.” Pellman continues to advise the NFL on medical issues.

Just when you think the NFL is slowly crawling out of its cave on the brain trauma issue you read an excellent piece like Hruby’s.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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