NHL sued for wrongful death in player's painkiller overdose

NHL sued for wrongful death in player's painkiller overdose

The National Hockey League (NHL) is facing a wrongful death lawsuit over a player who sustained multiple head injuries during his career, began taking prescription pain killers, and later died. After his death, he was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease occurring after repeated head injuries.

The player was 28 years old when he was found dead in 2011. He was found to have died from an overdose of the prescription medication he was taking for pain. He also had alcohol in his system. His family is now suing for wrongful death, alleging that the NHL subjected him to trauma, give him pain pills and failed to treat him for the addiction that he developed.

The family is not the first to file a lawsuit against a major sports league for wrongful death due to head injuries. The firm handling his case filed a claim against the National Football League last year for the death of a player also found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy. More than 4,000 former N.F.L players and families suing the NFL for damages caused by injuries sustained during their careers.

These lawsuits are multiplying as more people become aware of the severity of brain injuries that can occur from contact sports and other activities. Attention is also being focused on how the team physicians are treating these injuries, as in the case of the hockey player, who was prescribed several different pain killers by several different NHL physicians.

Source: New York Times, "In Suit Over Death, Boogaard's Family Blames the N.H.L.," John Branch, May 12, 2013


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