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Ex-Players Sue NHL Over Culture of ‘Extreme Violence’

The National Hockey League was sued by nine former players who claim a culture of “extreme violence” resulted in head injuries and subsequent long-term consequences related to trauma.

The NHL has failed to warn players against the risks of head trauma and hid or ignored scientific evidence dating back to the 1920s about repeated head blows in sports, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.

The plaintiffs seek to represent current and former NHL players in the latest of a series of lawsuits tied to physical injuries suffered by professional football and hockey players. The National Football League is settling litigation over concussions by providing as much as $914 million in compensation to more than 5,000 former players for ailments stemming from head injuries, testing and educational programs.

The plaintiffs in the hockey lawsuit include Dan LaCouture, a former player for the Edmonton Oilers, who suffered a concussion; Dan Keczmer, a defenseman who played for the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators; and Jack Carlson, a forward who played for the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota North Stars.

A similar lawsuit against the hockey league was filed in federal court in Washington in November.

“We are completely satisfied with our record on player safety, including as it relates to head injuries and brain trauma,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday in a statement. “We do not believe the new complaint provides any valid basis for liability or damages as against the National Hockey League and we intend to defend the case and others that may follow it vigorously.”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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