Last year, the big issue in sports health involved concussions in the National Football League. This year, a new conversation is starting about the same injuries, this time in the National Hockey League. Experts in Pennsylvania and elsewhere say that several federal suits have already been filed against the NHL in connection with player concussions. That organization is accused of downplaying the risk of brain injury and even encouraging players to duke it out on the ice for the entertainment of fans.
Legal analysts say that the cases against the NHL strongly echo those brain injury suits brought by football players in recent years. One Pennsylvania professor even called the legal endeavors a "copycat case." However, some of the facts are different than those presented by football players -- namely, the fact that the NHL encouraged violence rather than simply tolerating it. Certain players were labeled as "enforcers," according to the suit; those men were tasked with instigating fights on the ice. Such players may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for their permanent disability that resulted from their head injury woes.