As discussed in the previous post, the parents of the deceased NHL enforcer, Derek Boogaard, have filed a lawsuit against the NHL players union, accusing the union of negligence in their failure to file a claim against the NHL following Boogaard's untimely death in May 2011. Boogaard's death was related to his abuse of alcohol and drugs while he was in his second stint of rehabilitation while working for the NHL.
Many times people with brain injuries or other cognitive or mental health problems may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. That is to say, an alcohol or drug addiction can mask an underlying mental health or cognitive health problem. Meanwhile, both issues make the other worse.
The lawsuit against the players union accuses the union of missing a deadline to file a claim against the NHL. The lawsuit says that there was a legitimate claim because it says the NHL doctors made Boogaard's problems worse by continually prescribing painkillers for his fighting that he was known to have addiction to.
According to an in-depth piece in The New York Times, this lawsuit could potentially shake-up the NHL and lead to more lawsuits of its kind or even a class-action similar to the current class-action accusing the NFL of not doing enough to prevent repeat brain injuries in players that led to long-term health problems.
Three NHL enforcers died untimely deaths in the spring and summer of 2011. The current lawsuit filed by Boogaard's family wants to learn more about Boogaard's substance abuse treatment and health care treatment in the hands of the NHL. They believe that he was continually prescribed the very drugs that he was addicted to so that he could continue to play and fight in the NHL even as he fought his addiction to these drugs.
Source: The New York Times, "Boogaard Lawsuit May Shake Up Hockey," Jeff Z. Klein, Sept. 26, 2012
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