March 08, 2018 06:51 PM
A deposition of National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman from July 2015 was unsealed Wednesday at the federal courthouse in St. Paul as part of a concussion lawsuit filed by former players against the league.
The release comes one week before a scheduled court hearing, where a judge will listen to attorneys representing around 150 former players who want the case to be certified as a class-action.
FIGHTING BACK: KSTP's Investigative Team interviewed former players, reviewed hundreds of NHL documents, internal correspondence and presentations that reveals the league's view on fighting and the impact it has on the long-term health of players.
That could open it up to all ex-NHL players.
In all, 17 Minnesotans have been a part of the suit accusing the league of failing to warn players about the health risks associated with brain injuries.
During the deposition at NHL headquarters in New York, an attorney for the ex-players asked Bettman "...have the players ever been specifically warned, to your knowledge, that repeated head hits can cause neurodegenerative diseases including CTE?"
According to the court records released, Bettman replied: "Those exact words have not been used to my knowledge. However, the players have been warned and educated that repeated head hits are serious and there may be a long-term risk of something because nobody knows."
"People want to point us out as trouble makers - or looking for a pot of gold - (but) this is a serious issue," said Reed Larson, a former member of the Minnesota North Stars.
Last year, Larson said former players want the NHL to pay for medical monitoring for head damage that could have occurred during their playing days.
"Maybe a head hit as an adult is different than a head hit as a teenager before they ever get to us," Bettman said in his deposition. "Maybe there are other factors. Maybe some people have a genetic predisposition and others don't. There's a whole host of things that the medical community is telling us that they don't know."
Updated: March 08, 2018 06:51 PM
Created: March 08, 2018 05:17 PM
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