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CTE related death of professional hockey player prompts lawsuit

By now it is likely that most Pittsburgh residents have heard about the diagnosis of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in many former professional athletes. Individuals diagnosed with it after their deaths include former professional football players Junior Seau and Dave Duerson as well as former professional hockey player, Derek Boogaard. Many medical professionals believe that the CTE developed as a result of the many head injuries the athletes suffered throughout their careers.

Recently, Boogaard's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Hockey League claiming it was ultimately responsible for the young man's death due to an accidental drug overdose.

Boogaard's family claims that the league either knew or should have known about the possibility of multiple hits to the head leading to CTE. Similarly it alleges that it was aware or should have been aware that individuals suffering from injuries to the brain are more likely to become addicted to drugs but despite this, doctors working for the league routinely provided the player with prescription narcotics.

This is not the first wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by the family of professional athletes whose loved ones died allegedly of complications resulting from the brain disease. Similar claims have been filed by the families of professional football players as well.

All workers expect that they will not face working conditions that will leave them injured. While most professional athletes probably expect that they will suffer aches and pains from time to time, none plan on suffering such serious injuries that they will lead to a premature death.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Family of 'enforcer' sues NHL for wrongful death," May 13, 2013

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