We have watched for years now as thousands of former professional football players have filed lawsuits against the National Football League, claiming that they now suffer from the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries and that the NFL withheld information regarding the risks they were facing while they were active players. While that lawsuit seemingly continues to grow every week with more players joining the litigation, other sports have largely avoided this legal problem, including those that involve repeated collisions that could put anyone's brain at risk of serious and permanent injury.
However, another professional sports league in North America has encountered this legal problem. The family of former NHL player Derek Boogaard has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Hockey League. The claims contained in that lawsuit are similar to those that are being made by the former football players and their surviving family members who are seeking damages based on the health problems that they now face. The lawsuit was filed in recent days against the NHL, and the league has yet to respond in any official capacity.
Derek Boogaard was a 28-year-old hockey player who was a member of the Minnesota Wild during his last active NHL season. He was found dead in May of 2011 after ingesting an overdose of pain medication mixed with alcohol. A study of his brain after his death revealed the presence of a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or more commonly as CTE. CTE is a progressive brain condition that develops as a result of repeated blows to the head, and it's typically not discovered until someone has already died. Therefore, there is obviously no treatment for it at this time.
Derek Boogaard was known in NHL circles as an 'enforcer' because he was generally not on teams in order to score goals. Instead, he was usually put on the ice to put forth a physical presence that affected the flow of games. He scored only three goals during his six seasons in the NHL. However, he was involved in an estimated 66 fights during his career, and his family feels that these fights along with other collisions are what ultimately led to this accidental overdose. The lawsuit also claims that Mr. Boogaard was addicted to pain medication and abused it.
Obviously, there is no way to comment on the merits of this traumatic brain injury lawsuit without being personally involved in it. However, we should expect these types of claims to continue to be filed in the future until more is learned about CTE and other traumatic brain injuries and until something is done about the repeated blows to the head that athletes endure. We have been serving clients as traumatic brain injury lawyers for decades, and we have seen the devastation that can result from them. If you or someone you love has been harmed in this manner, contact the Scarlett Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.