WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Ten former NHL players filed suit against the NHL Monday in Washington, alleging the league failed to protect them against concussions.
In documents filed with U.S. District Court, the players claim the NHL failed to keep them safe from concussions despite long-standing medical evidence linking their injuries to neurological damage stretching back decades.
After establishing a concussion program in 1997, the suit alleges, the NHL "did nothing to protect its players from unnecessary harm until 2010," by which time "many NHL players were forced to retire due to the lingering effects caused by concussions."
Saying the NHL has nurtured a "nurtured a culture of violence" through the glorification of fighting, plaintiffs including former St. Louis Blues forward Curt Bennett and ex-Toronto Maple Leaf Richard Vaive claimed the league refused to ban fighting and body checking "despite the mountain of evidence connecting hockey to brain injuries."
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement defending the league's anti-concussion efforts.
"While the subject matter is very serious, we are completely satisfied with the responsible manner in which the league and the Players' Association have managed player safety over time, including with respect to head injuries and concussions," he said.