(Reuters) – Nine former players filed a class action lawsuit against the NHL on Thursday, alleging that the league subjected players to “the imminent risk of head trauma” leading to long-term negative health consequences.
The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in New York, is the second filed against the National Hockey League in less than five months to claim the league did not do enough to prevent concussions.
The latest complaint alleges that, “the NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of these risks and consequences of head trauma.”
The suit also claims the NHL concealed material scientific and anecdotal information from players.
“The NHL has failed to institute policies and protocols that could have and will protect its players from suffering or exacerbating head trauma sustained during practice or in games,” read the complaint.
Among the plaintiffs, Dan LaCouture, Jack Carlson, Mike Peluso and Tom Younghans spent their careers as enforcers and piled up more minutes in fighting penalties than points.
The other players named in the lawsuit were Dan Keczmer, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey.
“Through enclosed rink designs and lax rules for fighting, the NHL vectored a culture of extreme violence and packaged the spoils to adoring fans.” continued the suit.
The NHL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A lawsuit filed last year that started with 10 plaintiffs but has since grown to over 200, said it was time for the NHL to elevate player safety over profit and tradition.
Concussions have been in the NHL spotlight for years.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, the game’s most popular player and face of the NHL, missed large chunks of two seasons as he slowly recovered from concussion symptoms.
Several other players, including former All-Stars Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontaine and Keith Primeau, were all forced to prematurely end their careers due to concussion issues.
In 2011, three former NHL enforcers, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak died tragically raising concerns about a possible link between the deaths and the players’ tough guy roles and concussions.
Last year the National Football League paid $765 million to settle a similar lawsuit brought by thousands of former players, many suffering from dementia and health problems.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)