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A (head) shot across the NHL's bow?

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  • Craig Wallace
    Interesting article from the Globe and Mail. Craig http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/a-head-shot-across-the-nhls-bow/article2114845/
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 2, 2011
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      Interesting article from the Globe and Mail.

      Craig


      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/a-head-shot-across-the-nhls-bow/article2114845/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Michael Levin
      Wasn t this the same league (NHL) where the players refused to wear head gear? Didn t the league have to mandate that its players wear a helmet during play
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 2, 2011
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        Wasn't this the same league (NHL) where the players refused to wear head
        gear? Didn't the league have to mandate that its players wear a helmet
        during play because the players refused to wear voluntarily a helmet?

        On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 5:35 AM, Craig Wallace <craigw@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Interesting article from the Globe and Mail.
        >
        > Craig
        >
        >
        > http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/a-head-shot-across-the-nhls-bow/article2114845/
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • William Underwood
        1-The NHL will always be vulnerable to lawsuits.there are more ambulance chasers in our society than aspirin pills, law schools (many of dubious caliber) churn
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 3, 2011
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          1-The NHL will always be vulnerable to lawsuits.there are more ambulance
          chasers in our society than aspirin pills, law schools (many of dubious
          caliber) churn them out everyday There will always be a "get rich quick and
          my name in the papers guy" to do it. No matter what the NHL does it will be
          vulnerable as long as it is in the public eye and has money. It could
          support motherhood and be open to "discriminating against women who can not
          bear children." This is the society that we live in today. As an advisor
          once told me "no matter what you do you can always be sued by a determined
          person, it is just a matter of making it harder and harder for you to lose
          if you are sued."

          2-The NFL players will probably not win that suit. There are a ton of
          issues. One, medical science knew less of concussions when they played.
          There was simply no way to know what modern neurology does now about the
          entire issue at the time of their injuries. My own neurologist tells me
          about my neuropathy "we know more and more every year a lot more, but there
          is still a lot that we don't know." A lot of these guys played before we had
          the sophisticated scanning equipment that exists today. Two, any rational
          person knows that there is a risk of head injury when you go onto a field
          and assume that risk. Three, no one prevented them form getting second
          opinions if they still showed symptoms. Four, in the end no one forced them
          to keep on playing. I have seen lawyers state the same. The first part is
          vital. Now one may say "that has changed today". Correct. But the player is
          NOW educated, taken care of medically but STILL assumes the risk DESPITE
          knowing the danger which will ALWAYS make winning a suit hard. It is like
          HALO (high altitude low opening) sky diving. You know it is dangerous, you
          may wait too late and that second chute may not open. that second chute may
          not open. As long as you know the risk and you are willing to take it there
          is no law against you doing so.. If it was not that way mountain climbing,
          bungie jumping etc would all be illegal. We even see it in everyday life.we
          allow smoking which we know beyond any doubt can shorten your life and harm
          others.But as you are reminded that on cigarette packages and we educate you
          as does your doctor it is up to you if you want to STILL take that risk.
          Tobacco companies survive today as the law says it is your right to take a
          risk and smoking is as sure a risk as there is in society. I know few long
          time smokers who don't have cancer or heart ailments often in their 40's and
          50's yet it is legal.if it was a disease we would see quarantines but it is
          a chosen act so it is legal with warnings. And just as in sports if you
          choose to ignore a doctor telling you to quit, it is up to you that is also
          your right even if it will kill you. If we are that cavalier about smoking
          do we expect the legal system to be more emphatic? They tell millions of
          smokers "we know this will probably kill you but that is your right" and we
          expect them to deal with football palwey4rs differently? We didn't know the
          risks of concussion as well when these guys played. They knew that they were
          not feeling right but sought no second opinion and did not retire. How sin
          that different from a smoker who started to smoke in the 1940;s, had a
          persistent cough but never went to a second doctor, started hearting stuff
          in the 60's paid no heed and ended up with a deadly disease in the 70's? As
          for this guys hypothetical NHL suit it is like a smoker today. You know
          there is a risk? Did you still take it? Did you have symptoms? Did you tell
          anyone? As they persisted did you consider getting a second opinion? Every
          player knows the risk today. So the rest is almost academic as is the case
          with the millions who still smoke and will certainly eventually die from it,
          it is their choice in the end. If we have one standard for a near certain
          destruction of health what does a case with less certainly stand? Anything
          can happen in court but if all companies acted on that premise they would be
          dysfunctional..

          3-Yes we have to keep on tinkering with the rules. But hockey is a contact
          game. That is part of what makes it great, a nom check hockey game is
          just.BORING to watch and much easier to play. Think of even the NHL All Star
          Game which in the end is non check hockey, we see what one hit in it if
          that? And it is usually accidental! :-) It is the worlds greatest pure skill
          contest, you will see no better yet it also maybe the WORST game of the
          year. It is like watching ping pong as they go back and forth and score at
          will making goals cheap. We probably will see the NHL go the way of the
          juniors in time. The OHL and QMJHL still have a ton of contact it has not
          harmed their game but you still need contact and when you have it there will
          always be a risk. Hell, even without it there is a certain risk, guys have
          been blinded by pucks and sticks on shots a guys even have had their heart
          stop beating when hit by the puck in the chest between beats and we even saw
          poor Cherepanov die of a heart failure on the bench after a shift. No matter
          what we do this sport will always contain risk. We always have to make it
          safer but we also can't go and butcher it because no matter how afar we go
          there will always be risk.

          4-He makes a bad assumption about youth hockey. It isn't the sports danger
          that is making less kids play. As a US president once said "it's the economy
          stupid". Hockey is an EXPENSIVE game to play and it is not getting cheaper
          and the economy is not getting better on either side of the border. Kids are
          being priced out. I have yet to hear a parent say "I wouldn't let my kid
          play it is too dangerous" I HAVE heard "we could never afford that." Each
          year I see more and more kids need help to be able to play and kids play AA
          because they just can't afford AAA. Making the game anon checking wonder
          will change none of the above. If you want youth hockey registration to go
          up find a way to make it cheaper and believe me nay of us try.but between
          equipment costs (more of it made from higher grade material) , energy costs
          to run rinks and travel, hotel costs the entire gamut---- it is a losing
          battle.



          Finally, I see more education going on in hockey about concussions. We have
          an ex NHLer down here really working at that. Coaches, players trainers and
          managers are getting more and more saavy. Guys that may not have sat out a
          game even 25 years ago are missing one and two months of play. And it is not
          that we are "seeing more concussions" as the fringe alarmist contingent will
          scream but rather "we can DIAGNOSE more concussions, know how to treat them
          better and have a greater understanding in general". We never knew the
          vulnerability to a second concussion before, now we do and we act. The
          muckrakers forget that we only know what medical folks can tell us, we are
          not doctors ourselves. They also forget that at the pro level a player is a
          multi million dollar investment. You don't risk that. And at the lower
          levels they forget that not only are there lawsuits but also at a certain
          point we KNOW these kids and they are more than just players to us they are
          PEOPLE. I ALWAYS tell a young player to see to it that they really have
          medical clearance. Playing hurt does you no good as a person or a hockey
          player. Now this does not mean to sit out for a hang nail or sniffles but
          rather for anything serious and DOUBLY so if it involves the head.







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • craigw@mountaincable.net
          Bill, Excellent post and I agree with most of what you said. In regard however to second opinions check out the attached article on Dick Butkus. He sued the
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 3, 2011
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            Bill,

            Excellent post and I agree with most of what you said.

            In regard however to second opinions check out the attached article on
            Dick Butkus. He sued the Chicago Bears (anyone know the result of it?) for
            not allowing him a second opinion on his injuries and being given
            painkillers to allow him to play when he should not have been allowed to
            by medical staff.

            There was also an incident in the early 1980's when the Toronto Argonauts
            of the CFL didn't inform a key player (I honestly don't remember which
            player) that he had "Mono" and plied him with "uppers" to keep him on the
            field for the season. They didn't have the medical knowledge we do today
            for sure as you correctly pointed out - but they didn't have the players
            best interests in mind either.

            Craig

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Butkus



            > 1-The NHL will always be vulnerable to lawsuits.there are more ambulance
            > chasers in our society than aspirin pills, law schools (many of dubious
            > caliber) churn them out everyday There will always be a "get rich quick
            > and
            > my name in the papers guy" to do it. No matter what the NHL does it will
            > be
            > vulnerable as long as it is in the public eye and has money. It could
            > support motherhood and be open to "discriminating against women who can
            > not
            > bear children." This is the society that we live in today. As an advisor
            > once told me "no matter what you do you can always be sued by a determined
            > person, it is just a matter of making it harder and harder for you to lose
            > if you are sued."
            >
            > 2-The NFL players will probably not win that suit. There are a ton of
            > issues. One, medical science knew less of concussions when they played.
            > There was simply no way to know what modern neurology does now about the
            > entire issue at the time of their injuries. My own neurologist tells me
            > about my neuropathy "we know more and more every year a lot more, but
            > there
            > is still a lot that we don't know." A lot of these guys played before we
            > had
            > the sophisticated scanning equipment that exists today. Two, any rational
            > person knows that there is a risk of head injury when you go onto a field
            > and assume that risk. Three, no one prevented them form getting second
            > opinions if they still showed symptoms. Four, in the end no one forced
            > them
            > to keep on playing. I have seen lawyers state the same. The first part is
            > vital. Now one may say "that has changed today". Correct. But the player
            > is
            > NOW educated, taken care of medically but STILL assumes the risk DESPITE
            > knowing the danger which will ALWAYS make winning a suit hard. It is like
            > HALO (high altitude low opening) sky diving. You know it is dangerous, you
            > may wait too late and that second chute may not open. that second chute
            > may
            > not open. As long as you know the risk and you are willing to take it
            > there
            > is no law against you doing so.. If it was not that way mountain climbing,
            > bungie jumping etc would all be illegal. We even see it in everyday
            > life.we
            > allow smoking which we know beyond any doubt can shorten your life and
            > harm
            > others.But as you are reminded that on cigarette packages and we educate
            > you
            > as does your doctor it is up to you if you want to STILL take that risk.
            > Tobacco companies survive today as the law says it is your right to take a
            > risk and smoking is as sure a risk as there is in society. I know few long
            > time smokers who don't have cancer or heart ailments often in their 40's
            > and
            > 50's yet it is legal.if it was a disease we would see quarantines but it
            > is
            > a chosen act so it is legal with warnings. And just as in sports if you
            > choose to ignore a doctor telling you to quit, it is up to you that is
            > also
            > your right even if it will kill you. If we are that cavalier about smoking
            > do we expect the legal system to be more emphatic? They tell millions of
            > smokers "we know this will probably kill you but that is your right" and
            > we
            > expect them to deal with football palwey4rs differently? We didn't know
            > the
            > risks of concussion as well when these guys played. They knew that they
            > were
            > not feeling right but sought no second opinion and did not retire. How sin
            > that different from a smoker who started to smoke in the 1940;s, had a
            > persistent cough but never went to a second doctor, started hearting stuff
            > in the 60's paid no heed and ended up with a deadly disease in the 70's?
            > As
            > for this guys hypothetical NHL suit it is like a smoker today. You know
            > there is a risk? Did you still take it? Did you have symptoms? Did you
            > tell
            > anyone? As they persisted did you consider getting a second opinion?
            > Every
            > player knows the risk today. So the rest is almost academic as is the case
            > with the millions who still smoke and will certainly eventually die from
            > it,
            > it is their choice in the end. If we have one standard for a near certain
            > destruction of health what does a case with less certainly stand? Anything
            > can happen in court but if all companies acted on that premise they would
            > be
            > dysfunctional..
            >
            > 3-Yes we have to keep on tinkering with the rules. But hockey is a contact
            > game. That is part of what makes it great, a nom check hockey game is
            > just.BORING to watch and much easier to play. Think of even the NHL All
            > Star
            > Game which in the end is non check hockey, we see what one hit in it if
            > that? And it is usually accidental! :-) It is the worlds greatest pure
            > skill
            > contest, you will see no better yet it also maybe the WORST game of the
            > year. It is like watching ping pong as they go back and forth and score at
            > will making goals cheap. We probably will see the NHL go the way of the
            > juniors in time. The OHL and QMJHL still have a ton of contact it has not
            > harmed their game but you still need contact and when you have it there
            > will
            > always be a risk. Hell, even without it there is a certain risk, guys have
            > been blinded by pucks and sticks on shots a guys even have had their heart
            > stop beating when hit by the puck in the chest between beats and we even
            > saw
            > poor Cherepanov die of a heart failure on the bench after a shift. No
            > matter
            > what we do this sport will always contain risk. We always have to make it
            > safer but we also can't go and butcher it because no matter how afar we go
            > there will always be risk.
            >
            > 4-He makes a bad assumption about youth hockey. It isn't the sports danger
            > that is making less kids play. As a US president once said "it's the
            > economy
            > stupid". Hockey is an EXPENSIVE game to play and it is not getting cheaper
            > and the economy is not getting better on either side of the border. Kids
            > are
            > being priced out. I have yet to hear a parent say "I wouldn't let my kid
            > play it is too dangerous" I HAVE heard "we could never afford that." Each
            > year I see more and more kids need help to be able to play and kids play
            > AA
            > because they just can't afford AAA. Making the game anon checking wonder
            > will change none of the above. If you want youth hockey registration to go
            > up find a way to make it cheaper and believe me nay of us try.but between
            > equipment costs (more of it made from higher grade material) , energy
            > costs
            > to run rinks and travel, hotel costs the entire gamut---- it is a losing
            > battle.
            >
            >
            >
            > Finally, I see more education going on in hockey about concussions. We
            > have
            > an ex NHLer down here really working at that. Coaches, players trainers
            > and
            > managers are getting more and more saavy. Guys that may not have sat out a
            > game even 25 years ago are missing one and two months of play. And it is
            > not
            > that we are "seeing more concussions" as the fringe alarmist contingent
            > will
            > scream but rather "we can DIAGNOSE more concussions, know how to treat
            > them
            > better and have a greater understanding in general". We never knew the
            > vulnerability to a second concussion before, now we do and we act. The
            > muckrakers forget that we only know what medical folks can tell us, we are
            > not doctors ourselves. They also forget that at the pro level a player is
            > a
            > multi million dollar investment. You don't risk that. And at the lower
            > levels they forget that not only are there lawsuits but also at a certain
            > point we KNOW these kids and they are more than just players to us they
            > are
            > PEOPLE. I ALWAYS tell a young player to see to it that they really have
            > medical clearance. Playing hurt does you no good as a person or a hockey
            > player. Now this does not mean to sit out for a hang nail or sniffles but
            > rather for anything serious and DOUBLY so if it involves the head.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
          • William Underwood
            Sadly enough true. But still one technically can t stop you from going for a second opinion. Of course guys will often just blindly listen to teams. Now Dave
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 4, 2011
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              Sadly enough true. But still one technically can't stop you from going for a
              second opinion. Of course guys will often just blindly listen to teams.



              Now Dave Babych sued the Flyers orthopedic surgeon for malpractice when he
              was not informed that his foot was broken and that he could play on it. It
              was found that there was no evidence that the team was in the wrong. It also
              found the doctor innocent of fraud as he used proper treatment but he was
              awarded money for pain and suffering. In other words there was smoke
              somewhere but they couldn't find the fire and exactly where it was.



              Lindros also had allegations but in the end never went to court. But his
              were more indictments of how the Philly medical staff handled his
              concussions which was getting into the fuzzy territory of was it malicious,
              or just medicine going on the limited knowledge of concussions or just bad
              medicine. He also had the incident when his lung collapsed however that was
              an issue that seemed to be a failure of communications. The club wanted him
              to fly back to Philly to get treatment with team mate Mark Recchi which was
              reasonable enough in fact prudent as the doctors in Philly knew Lindros and
              they knew the care that he would get and it is hard to beat with place such
              as U of Penn here.. The trainer on the scene was astute enough o say no he
              had to go to the hospital in Nashville.



              In the end however note that in the first case we see two issues. One the
              plaintiff can go after the doctor in a very public trial, most doctors will
              not risk that and doubly so the sort that teams employ as they are generally
              fairly prominent men. Two there was insufficient proof of wrong doing from
              the team. The doctor, not the team, told Babych it was ok to play, Roger
              Nielson was on record saying that he was out nor did the doctor claim that
              he was pressured in any way. And in the end I think that Roger Nielson was
              always a good and principled man one of the best the game has ever seen that
              way.



              Now as for Lindros, again it was the medical people not the team itself he
              criticized which hints malpractice or other competency issues on the
              concussion issues. Doctors are always vulnerable to this. On the lung issue
              one can say that the team initially behaved in a reasonable manner, they are
              told "he is ill" they said "fly him right back home to see the doctors who
              know him and we trust." Luckily the man on the scene was good enough to
              know otherwise and the fact that he was a team employee who acted on his own
              initiative at the scene actually clears the team to a degree. Granted they
              still wanted to do the wrong thing but .not out of malice b ut rather
              concern for the player ort if you want to be cynical, multi million dollar
              investment.



              But these are case studies of how tough it is to go into these suits.
              Lindros didn't even bother, Babych got some satisfaction but the onus was on
              the doctor as opposed to the NHL, the Flyers or skate manufacturers opposing
              player etc..Note he did not get very grandiose in his case it was just the
              doctor and the Flyers that he took on and Flyer end was so weak that it was
              tossed out. They also show simply that it will get tougher and tougher as
              time goes on for this stuff to happen and thus for there to be lawsuits. You
              have agents and PA's today as well in the act. Not to mention malpractice
              against any doctor who would play a role plus you have a muckraking media.
              Thus it is not only tougher for teams to get away with stuff but also less
              and less of an excuse for the player to say "they ordered me to do it and I
              did" as it is getting more and more like the old "if they told you to jump
              off a bridge would you?" the guys from an earlier era probably have gripes
              but less so today and in the future. This is not to say that there will
              never be a lawyer who tries or that a team may behave in a questionable
              manner but it will get tougher and tougher as players are more empowered.



              Now what is interesting about the NFL case is no doctors are being sued by
              these guys. There are no petitions to the AMA etc. Could that be because
              there is really nothing to sue for? That the doctors acted to the best of
              their knowledge of the era? If that is so their case looks weaker and
              perhaps that is what they fear.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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