It's an exciting time of year for hockey fans with the start of the NHL playoffs, but the sport is also making headlines because of some new lawsuits by retired players.
In the last week, 12 former players have accused the NHL of promoting fighting and downplaying the risk of head injury. They join 10 other former players who filed a suit back in November seeking compensation for head injuries sustained while they were players.
The Minneapolis law firm of Zimmerman Reed is representing three of the retired players. It has also represented former professional football players in a similar lawsuit against the National Football League.
MPR's Cathy Wurzer spoke with Bucky Zimmerman, who is an attorney at the firm. He says the damage is similar to what prompted a $765 million settlement with between the NFL and its players.
"We're seeing the same symptomology. The same kinds of loss of congnitive function. We're seeing players whose lives have been affected by the early onset of serious congnitive impairment including Alzheimer's, just like in football," he said. "It took a while to register with everyone, that it was related to hockey."
Zimmerman says science now shows sport-related head injuries can have long term effects.
"The connection between successive injuries and concussive injuries has started to ring true in the homes of players and the courts are finding a place for this to be aired and the public and legal system is responding with the kind of attention that this just hasn't had before," he said.