In 2012, retired football players filed a lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL) alleging that the organization concealed risks of brain injury. The players argue that the league did not do enough to protect them from concussions sustained during thousands of tackles. Plaintiffs have also placed fault on the football helmet manufacturer Riddell for glorifying football violence. To date, more than 4,500 players have joined the lawsuits.

Following their lead, almost two-dozen retired hockey players have filed lawsuits in federal courts in the District of Columbia, New York City and Minneapolis against the National Hockey League (NHL). The athletes assert that they suffered permanent brain damage in their jobs because of negligence on the part of the governing organizations. The plaintiffs claim that the NHL concealed or minimized the risks of concussion.

Sports-related head injuries can cause a wide range of medical conditions, including:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Personality changes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

Lawyers for the NHL players have paid careful attention to the NFL lawsuits. For example, the NFL argued that the claims resolutions are controlled by the collective bargaining agreement, which requires disputes be settled through arbitration, not trial. Both leagues face resistance from their insurance carriers because the negligence and fraud alleged by players fall outside their policy coverage.

The NFL offered football players a settlement of $765 million dollars. A judge and several players have expressed concerns about whether this is enough to cover the players’ medical expenses for the rest of their lives. The NHL can expect similar opposition to any settlement it proposes.

The professional hockey and football league lawsuits have drawn attention to the lifelong consequences of sports injuries. If you or your loved one has suffered a sports-related injury, it is important to discuss your legal options with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Northeast Ohio.