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Wrongful death lawsuit filed in Cook County against the NHL

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed this month in Cook County Circuit Court. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Derek Boogaard, a former hockey player known for getting into fistfights on the ice. It is believed these fights led to brain damage, which eventually led to an accidental overdose. 

In looking at this case, Boogaard was just 28 years old when he died. He had played for six years as a team member of the Rangers and the Wild. 

During this hockey career, it is noted in the wrongful death filing, Boogaard played 277 games for the Rangers and the Wild. During those games he was responsible for three goals, yet was involved in 66 fights on the ice. 

It turns out, being in this high number of fights did not come without consequences for Boogaard. Instead, the lawsuit claims, taking hard hits to the head ended up causing him to suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is advanced brain damage. 

The claim is the National Hockey League either knew, or should have known, that his role as a fighter on the ice came with an increased risk of brain damage.

Additionally, team doctors, dentists, trainers and other staff members were reportedly responsible for giving him large quantities of painkillers. In fact, over the 2008-2009 season with the Wild, more than 40 prescriptions were written to Boogaard, equally out to 1,021 prescription pills. 

According to the lawsuit, Boogaard ended up becoming addicted to the pain pills. And, even though the NHL had promised to care for him, once addicted the claim is that the NHL failed to carry out that promise.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Boogaard's parents and his siblings.

 

Source: Chiacgo Sun-Times, "NHL enforcer Derek Bookaard's family sues NHL, alleges 'wrongful death'," Dan Mihalopoulos, May 12, 2013

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