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SBD/November 26, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Group Of Former NHLers Launch Concussion Lawsuit, Claim League Concealed Risks
Published November 26, 2013
KNEW A LAWSUIT WAS COMING? Octagon Hockey Dir Allan Walsh, who has campaigned to raise awareness of NHL concussions, said, "I think we all saw this coming. The NHL commenced its concussions program 16 years ago and took no affirmative steps to protect players until 2011. All we ever heard from the NHL was 'More studies are needed' and 'We are the first sports league to have a working concussion study group.'" Walsh added that he expects "similar suits to be filed soon in other jurisdictions" (USA TODAY, 11/26). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau noted, "Everyone from NHL GMs and team owners to player agents have heard rumblings that this was a likelihood and the league has had a strategy to deal with this day for some time." But the NHL "is famous for wanting to control the environment in which it does business -- and this time, it may wind up in a courtroom, where control is out of its hands" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/25).
RISKY BUSINESS: In Calgary, Eric Francis notes Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke was "frank when asked about concussions hours before word came down the NHL was being sued." He said, "The NHL doesn’t get any credit for being industry leaders -- diagnosing and creating protocol to follow." Burke: "We’re going to have concussions in hockey. What we owe players is a full description of the risks involved with playing. As long as a player fully understands the risks, why should we feel sorry for him when he gets hurt?" (CALGARY SUN, 11/26).