Concussion Lawsuit Hits the NHL

December 27, 2013
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A concussion and other head injuries have been a major topic of conversation in sports, especially football.

But, it appears as though the NFL settlement has sparked concussion lawsuits, as the National Hockey League was recently sued by 10 former players, claiming leaders didn’t do enough to address head injuries and promoted violence.


What does this mean for the NHL?

Much like in football, this lawsuit could have major financial implications for the NHL, but even more important, future collective bargaining agreements may change.

“The issue that looms in the background is the collective bargaining agreement that often establishes the relevant workplace safety issues, and which ones are pre-empted under federal law,” Matthew Mitten, the director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University, told the New York Times. “They will look at what the lawyers for the N.F.L. did.”

When the respective owner’s and player’s associations hit the negotiation table in the future, concussions will likely be a major issue. For example, harsher penalties for violent hits that can potentially lead to concussions may be imposed to deter players from committing them.


Another topic that may be discussed is fighting. There is currently nothing in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement to prevent players from dropping the gloves – as it is seen as part of the game. However, punches can possibly lead to concussions so they league may consider outlawing fighting moving forward to reduce the risk of future lawsuits.

There is no telling what changes will come to future collective bargaining agreements, but you can bet that there will be some, especially now that the NHL has officially been sued for player safety issues and negligence.