August 23, 2018 10:24 PM
The family of late NHL player Jeff Parker of White Bear Lake has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Hockey League in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County.
The 83-page lawsuit alleges that while former players knew they might get injured playing in the league, they did not sign up for avoidable brain damage.
“I like hockey, but the NHL right now is not taking care of their boys," Jeff's brother Scott Parker said. "Hopefully, we are going to open up some eyes."
Scott Parker filed the suit as trustee of his brother’s estate, along with his 5-year-old niece, Jeff’s daughter.
Their suit alleges: "The NHL was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries for many decades, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information from the players, including the late Jeff Parker."
It goes on to claim the league, “either took no steps to protect and educate its players or took insufficient steps to make players aware of the real risks of playing in the NHL, which would have protected players from unnecessary long term effects of head trauma."
Jeff Parker played for the Buffalo Sabres and Hartford Whalers during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In recent years, the NHL has changed rules on player safety and how concussions are treated.
An NHL spokesman told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the league had "no comment" on the Parkers’ suit.
Different Ex-NHL Player Concussion Lawsuit
A federal judge in St. Paul recently stopped a large concussion lawsuit filed by former NHL players from becoming a class-action case.
In that lawsuit, more than 150 former NHL players, including 17 Minnesotans, alleged the league promoted violence and fighting to pursue profits while downplaying the health risks associated with concussions.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman previously said that lawsuit has "no merit whatsoever."
In her 45-page ruling, Judge Susan Nelson wrote, "The Court is sympathetic to the significant cost and the likelihood of duplicative proof in trying this case many times, for each individual player."
She added, "....resolving these claims in a single class action would present significant case management difficulties."
The ruling meant ex-players had to choose whether or not to go it alone against the league, which is why the Parkers said they filed suit.
"Someone is going to have to take notice, there are just too many of them," Scott Parker said.
A Painful Nightmare
Before his death last year, Jeff Parker told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he lived a painful nightmare off the ice.
"I always thought it would go away," he said in a March 2017 interview.
Jeff Parker said head injuries and concussions drove him out of the game. He dealt with a constant ringing in his ears, light sensitivity and loss of taste.
Posthumously, his brain was studied at Boston University’s CTE Center, where examiners said he suffered from the neurodegenerative brain disease CTE.
Updated: August 23, 2018 10:24 PM
Created: August 23, 2018 07:19 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company