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NHL has no comment after NFL concussion settlement

Jason Pominville

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2010, file photo Buffalo Sabres’ Jason Pominville is carted off the ice after a hit which resulted in a gash above his eye and a concussion during an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Buffalo, N.Y. Concussions were the major theme of a two-day summit on hockey concussions this week at the Mayo Clinic, where more than 250 doctors, scientists and hockey officials talked about the latest research and strategized on ways to cut down on concussions, especially in youth hockey. (AP Photo/ David Duprey, File)


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.