NHL Fighting Concussion Lawsuit from Former Players

In the wake of a class-action concussion lawsuit brought by 100 former players, the National Hockey League (NHL) is taking Boston University to court to obtain their research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The university—the leading researcher on CTE—initially denied the league’s request for the research. The NHL asked for extensive documentation from the university’s studies. This includes data on several brains that were donated, which is covered by anonymity and medical privacy laws.

According to Boston University, only five of the deceased athletes and military veterans studied in the research were NHL players. However, all five of those players were diagnosed with CTE. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist who discovered CTE in 2002, wrote a letter to the court defending Boston University’s decision. He comments that the science behind CTE is well-established and widely accepted. He also notes that the NFL, which had previously denied CTE, now recognizes the evidence.

NHL Follows NFL’s Path of Denial

Despite the evidence for CTE, the NHL continues to deny a clear link between concussions and CTE. Going the way of both the National Football League (NFL) and the New York State Boxing Commission, the league has hired a neuropathologist that denies the existence of CTE. Dr. Rudy Castellani is the director of the Western Michigan Center for Neuropathology. He denies the link between concussions and CTE.

NHL Says it will not Settle Concussion Lawsuit

The NHL has previously stated they are not interested in settling the concussion lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the NHL knew about the link between concussions and brain damage, yet failed to protect and educate its players. One of the players, 18-year NHL veteran Grant Ledyard, claims in the suit that he suffers daily from headaches, mood swings, depression and other behavioral issues. He suffered roughly eight concussions during his career.

“Considering the NFL is now paying their former players $1 billion for this exact issue, it isn’t all that surprising the NHL is pulling out all the stops to avoid settling. Regardless, the injured players deserve the truth. They should also receive compensation for their suffering,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

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