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Sports Injury Lawsuits in the News Again

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Chicago, ILThe family of Steve Montador, who died earlier in 2015 and reportedly had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), has filed a lawsuit against the National Hockey League (NHL), putting athletes’ injury risks in the news again. The National Football League (NFL) and NHL have both faced lawsuits linked to various serious injuries, including concussion injuries. Other injuries sustained by athletes can include back and neck injuries.

Steve Montador was a former Chicago Blackhawks player, known for being physical. According to the Chicago Tribune (12/8/15), around 80 former NHL players are involved in a class-action lawsuit against the NHL, alleging the league did not adequately warn them about the long-term consequences of repeated head injuries. Montador reportedly suffered 15 documented concussions, four of which occurred within three months.

According to court documents, during his NHL career Montador was involved in 69 on-ice fights and sustained “thousands of sub-concussive brain traumas and multiple concussions, many of which were undiagnosed and/or undocumented.”

As a result, Montador’s family alleges Montador suffered memory problems, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and behavioral changes. After Montador died at age 35, a review of his brain found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a deterioration of the brain. According to the Chicago Tribune article, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said there is no established link between playing in the NHL and brain disease.

The NHL and NFL have both faced lawsuits alleging they didn’t do enough to protect players from the risk of serious head injuries and did not warn players about the risks associated with repeated head injuries. The NFL has recently settled lawsuits it faced, although critics argue the settlement did not do enough to address CTE.

Meanwhile, the trial concerning Freddie Gray, who died of a fatal neck injury while in police custody, has heard expert testimony. According to KPACX News (12/10/15), prosecutors filed charges against the officers involved, alleging Gray suffered a broken neck on April 12 while he was being transported in a police van. Although he was in custody and in shackles, Gray was not put in a seatbelt. He reportedly requested medical assistance during transportation but it was not given until later.

The NHL lawsuit is Paul Montador et al. v. National Hockey League et al., case number 1:15-cv-10989, in US District Court, Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.


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