The National Hockey League has reached a $18.9 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by over 300 former players who claimed the league failed to protect them against head injuries.
In addition to the monetary damages, the settlement includes neurological testing and assessment for players paid by the league, up to $75,000 in medical treatments for players who test positive on two or more of the tests and a “Common Good Fund” for retired players who need care.
Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who isn’t part of the lawsuit, said the league and players’ association have to have a role in the issue.
“It’s something as players, that we know that risk,” he explained. “Obviously, we know a lot more now than we did before, even a lot more than we did when I had my first one. It’s something you hope they can mutually agree on. It’s something that I think is important from both sides.”
“When you have a defendant who has spent millions of dollars litigating a case for four years to prove that nothing is wrong with getting your brain bashed in, you can only get so far,” Stuart Davidson, an attorney who represented the players, said. “I think it’s important for players who have an opportunity to settle their case with the NHL now, to understand that before they get anything through a trial against the NHL- it’s going to cost millions of dollars in experts to get there, and that’s going to have to be paid for before they see a penny from any recovery, assuming they win.”
Charles Zimmerman, another attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said he wasn’t happy that the lawsuit couldn’t guarantee future benefits for the retired players like in the NFL.
“I think it’s a very appropriate result and a good outcome in a very contested, hotly litigated matter,” he said. “The main goal in the case was to get medical testing and treatment for the players, something that the NHL wouldn’t agree to for the four years that we’d been litigating and that’s what we achieved.”