Family of late hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard sues NHL

May 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM
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NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) -- The family of the late NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard is suing the league, blaming it for his brain damage, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois contends league officials and team doctors for the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers continued to allow Boogaard to play despite evidence of impairment from concussions he received after six seasons as one of the NHL's most feared fighters, the newspaper said.

A posthumous diagnosis found he had a brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by repeated blows to the head.

The suit alleges he was inappropriately given "copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills and painkiller injections" by doctors, trainers and staff, resulting in drug additions that required two rounds of unsuccessful rehabilitations.

Boogaard died in 2011 at age 28 of an overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol.

William Gibbs, a lawyer for the Boogaards, told the Times the NHL failed in its responsibility to keep him healthy.

"To distill this to one sentence," he said, "you take a young man, you subject him to trauma, you give him pills for that trauma, he becomes addicted to those pills, you promise to treat him for that addiction, and you fail."

An NHL spokesman declined to comment Sunday.

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