Jon Rohloff Files Concussion Lawsuit Against NHL: Latest Reports and Reaction

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 30, 2014

21 Feb 1996: Defenseman Jon Rohloff of the Boston Bruins looks on during a game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. The Ducks won the game, 4-3.
Glenn Cratty/Getty Images

Former Boston Bruins defenseman Jon Rohloff is the latest player to bring a class-action lawsuit against the NHL, claiming the league took insufficient action to protect him from brain injuries.    

The New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein provided the news, noting that Rohloff is the only named plaintiff in the suit. This is the fourth concussion-related lawsuit against the NHL in the last year, as Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reported, although this is the first with just a single plaintiff. 

Here's more information, via the lawsuit

Former NHL players are uniting to send one resounding message: they signed up to play hockey knowing that they might get injured and dinged, but they didnot sign up for brain damage.

Over the course of an NHL season, a player will sustain hundreds of hits to the head during games, contact in training camp practices, and from contact in some regular season practices. These concussive and sub-concussive impacts, particularly when multiplied over the course of an NHL career, result in impaired brain function or deadly brain disease. The NHL knew this, but did not take measures to adequately inform or protect its players.

NHL representatives have not commented, but in April when former players Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer and Mike Peluso led a similar lawsuit, deputy commissioner Bill Daly was confident in the league's handling of head injuries. 

“We are completely satisfied with our record on player safety, including as it relates to head injuries and brain trauma," he said, via Klein. 

Rohloff, now 44, played for the Bruins between 1994 and 1997, filling the role of "enforcer." He was involved in eight fights during his career, according to Yahoo! Sports' Harrison Mooney

Canadiens forward Valeri Bure #18 waits for a pass while posted between Bruins defenceman Jon Rohloff #38 and goaltender Scott bailey #39 during   a game at the Molson Centre during the 1996-97 season.(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)
Denis Brodeur/Getty Images

He is seeking "medical monitoring, injunctive relief, and financial compensation," per Mooney.

Whether or not he receives those things is up to the court system, but it's clear this—which marks the third since Aprilwon't be the last such lawsuit against the NHL.

The nature of hockey, which includes massive hits and sanctioned fights, leads to a lot of potentially dangerous injuries. You can't stop injuries, but you can improve treatment. Professional sports leagues are doing a better job these days protecting players from returning to play after head injuries, but they weren't nearly as cautious several decades ago.

Don't be surprised if former hockey players continue to come forward against the league.