National Hockey League Players and Head Injury Lawsuits

The reality of head injuries is in the public spotlight, especially since professional athletes have come forward acknowledging the long-term and debilitating reality of high contact sports. The NFL has settled hundreds of lawsuits and now it seems as though players in the NHL may also be coming forward with their injuries and disabilities stemming from long-term exposure to high-impact head traumas.

While black eyes, lost teeth, bruising, even broken bones are common on the ice, they may not have a permanent affect. Long-term professional hockey players are realizing the devastating toll that a career can take on the body, especially brain function. Our Massachusetts brain injury attorneys are experienced in complicated cases involving acute brain trauma and long-term exposure to high-impact sports. Our legal team is abreast of all legal developments and cases against entities, including professional sports organizations.


Professional hockey players have acknowledged that the game and the culture of the sport has changed. There seems to be more aggressive elbowing, body checks, and cheap shots, even to the head. Many of these players have been involved in the heavy-contact, high-impact sports since they were young children. Doctors and sports professionals have increasingly found that this brutality on the ice can take a toll in the long-run for professional hockey players.

Despite a greater awareness surrounding head injuries, players continue to sustain injuries in the violent game. While most players do understand the risks of the game, they continue to play hard. Even though some players can make it through their careers unscathed, others are not so lucky. Many retired athletes, including hockey and football players can spend a lifetime with brain trauma and other ailments resulting from years of impact.

Dozens of professional football retirees have been awarded damages in the head-line grabbing lawsuits against the NFL. According to reports, the NFL agreed to pay out more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to settle lawsuits with former players. These players suffered severe and permanent brain damage, including dementia and concussion-related loss of brain function. The lawsuits hinged on the accusations that the NFL concealed the problems and long-term dangers of these concussions.

While the players have suffered similar injuries, there may be some differences between the NFL and the NHL. Legal analysts insist that the NHL has been more proactive as a league in addressing head injuries. Not that this would completely insulate the league from lawsuits, but it could put them in a better position to challenge claims by the players. According to reports, the NHL has always been active early-on when dealing with concussions and in raising awareness surrounding brain injury.

A focus on player safety over the benefit of the league could put the NHL in a better position should retiree brain injury victims or their families pursue legal action. While the NFL continues to face lawsuits, even from deceased players’ families, NHL players seem to be satisfied with their league and how it redresses brain injury. Still, victims of brain injury should have an understanding of their rights to compensation. Professional hockey players and their loved ones may be entitled to long-term financial support in the event of a serious brain injury resulting from repetitive impact.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Mass. Bill Proposed to Test Young Athletes for Head Injuries, Boston Personal Injury Attorney, October 6, 2013

Limited MBTA Maintenance May Increase Accident Risks
, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, April 7, 2013

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