Skip to content

NHL has no comment after NFL concussion settlement

Aug 30, 2013, 10:03 AM EDT

Jason Pominville AP

The NFL has reached a $765 million settlement, which if approved by a judge, will end months of mediation and a concussion lawsuit. The money will help fund medical exams and research as well as pay former players suffering from dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to CBC.

Following this agreement, NHL spokesman Frank Brown told the Globe and Mail that the league had no comment. Still, the question of whether or not we could see a similar class-action lawsuit might have been impacted by this settlement.

As lawyer Caroline Zayid points out, one of the results of this lawsuit is that the NFL will not have to reveal any documentation showing how much they knew about concussions at varying points in time.

“If all the documents had been produced, it might have made it easier to follow the trail and figure out when certain information became widely known and when medical evidence came to light,” Zayid said. “It might have provided a bit of a road map. The NHL is a different league, but you probably would have looked for parallels and it might have helped a little bit.”

In other words, Zayid thinks this result diminishes the odds that we will see similar legal action attempted by former NHL players.

It’s also worth noting that NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said the league didn’t reach this settlement because they felt they were in the wrong, but rather because they “thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation.”

The NHL has taken pains in recent years to reduce the number of head hits and thus concussions in the game, although the rate of concussions has reportedly not decreased.

  1. danaking - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    “NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said the league didn’t reach this settlement because they felt they were in the wrong, but rather because they “thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation.”

    If that were so, the NFL could have just come up with the money and not reached a settlement that included burying potentially useful data that might help researchers down the road.

    • cpbialois - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Considering they’re the league leading the charge in trying to prevent head injuries for years gives their statement credibility. .

      • dueman - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Obviously they are not the league leading the charge, if part of the deal was not giving up their medical documentation. Did you just wake up or something?

      • claudegirwho - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Also that money is just a fraction of what they make in a year and can cut that check without blinking. They will gladly pay that money to keep what they know hidden

      • joey4id - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Hahahaha! thayt’s funny cpbialois. One person can be credited with pushing owners to take care of this issue. Chris Nowinski! He’s the man for bringing CTE out of the dark. Only then did the NFL take notice that what they had done had caused irreparable damage to many former players.

      • cpbialois - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        You guys really need to get your heads out of the sand and pay attention to what’s been happening over the last thirty years. The NFL was looking into way before then. They started pulling players as soon as they had concussions in the 1980’s.

        Goodell has spearheaded the awareness of head injuries to the point players can’t fake their way through the tests and is continuing to find new ways to promote safety in the game.

        It’s also of note that many of the players adversely affected played during a time when steroids and drugs were prevalent before the league started to crack down. I know a good number of people that have suffered as little as one to numerous concussions and they’re fine. But yeah, don’t do any research or anything. That would make too much sense.

      • cpbialois - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        There are always other factors to be added in, but saying someone isn’t doing something to prevent injuries when it’s been obvious for years they are is ignorant at best. Sorry you guys don’t agree or want to agree, but that doesn’t change reality.

    • mikedmcclain - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      my roomate’s step-aunt makes $73/hr on the internet. She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her pay check was $16330 just working on the internet for a few hours. blog link…

  2. rodeoclowndc - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    This settlement paves the way for a similar one for the NHL, and I’d be willing to bet the ambulance chasers who got the NFL to cave are calling on former NHLers right about now.

    The floodgate is open. It’s gonna happen, regardless of how much the league is trying to do to prevent concussions. Just like the NFL, hockey has retirees who are suffering.

  3. amityvillefun - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    A great many of the concussions that occur in hockey can be prevented if the players police themselves a little better and have a bit more respect for their opponents. I understand things happening on the ice “in the heat of the moment” but perhaps if the perpetrator was forced to sit while the injured player recovered, it would make the player think a little more and hold up a little.

    I think the consequences for injuring a player with a deliberate head shot should be as harsh as possible. It is grossly unfair to see a talented player ruined by a guy with 1/3rd his talent level. Otherwise, teams can just send a “goon” in to wipe out the other team’s stars players. No NHL fan wants to see that.

    To my mind, those who ruin good players should have their careers equally impacted as well. Matt Cooke anyone?

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      And what do you do when an injury occurs to a 4th liner caused by a star player within the division? Do you not expect some gamesmanship to hold out the worse player longer than necessary?

  4. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Sure the NFL was forced into doing it, but a good idea is a good idea. Use the money for good, instead of wasting it all on vultures/lawyers fighting over what to do with that money. If the NHL follows their lead it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    There’s a few things the NHL could do to reduce the amount of not just concussions but injuries in general.

    1. Bring back the wobbly boards, get rid of the rock hard boards they made the “standard” now. Wobbly boards absorb a lot of the energy from body checks, instead of players bones and brains absorbing that energy.

    2. Get rid of the rock hard elbow and shoulder pads. They’re bad news for a couple years. One, the obvious, getting hit in the head with something that hard is not good for your head. Secondly, the guy hitting doesn’t feel as much. Good hitters can plow through guys and feel nothing. With softer pads you naturally ease up as to not injure yourself.

    3. Get rid of the trapezoid rule. Instead of forcing players into racing and crashing into the corners boards to get loose pucks… let goalies play them again. The trapezoid rule basically adds all the danger from touch-icing into every dump and chase play.

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Lawyers are still getting at least 1/3 of settlement money

      • 950003cups - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        The lawyers get an hourly salary. The 1/3 your talking about is a contingency arrangement. That’s if the plaintiff can’t afford the salary of the lawyer, or doesn’t wanna invest.

        I’ll bet there are a plethora of lawyers who would be thrilled beyond understanding to take such a high profile case. The lawyers for Zimmerman didn’t collect the money from him. Its enormous advertising for them.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        I’m sure the lawyers will weasel as much money as they possibly can out of this. Will be nice if it’s only 1/3.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        …but that’s the NFL. The NHL has the chance to jump the gun and create their own similar program and bypass all the lawyer headaches to get to that point. Whether the NHL makes that happen or not… who knows?

  5. redridershoottheireyeout - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    either way the fans wind up paying more in the long run

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1979)
  2. P. Kessel (1256)
  3. M. Richards (1182)
  4. N. Backstrom (1082)
  5. M. Giordano (987)