Derek Boogaard's Family Sues NHL Over Player's Death In 2011 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Derek Boogaard's Family Sues NHL Over Player's Death In 2011

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the NHL by the family of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard, who was 28 when he died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone in May of 2011. The suit accuses the NHL of being negligent and with supplying the painkiller to Boogaard.

"The NHL drafted Derek Boogaard because it wanted his massive body to fight in order to enhance ratings, earnings and exposure. Fighting night after night took its expected toll on Derek's body and mind," attorney William Gibbs said in a statement after filing the suit. "To deal with the pain, he turned to the team doctors, who dispensed pain pills like candy. Then, once he became addicted to these narcotics, the NHL promised his family that it would take care of him. It failed. He died."

Boogard's parents, Joanne and Len, donated Derek's brain to researchers at Boston University, known for its focus on sports-related brain and head trauma. They found early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain trauma.

Drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2001, Boogaard joined the team in 2005; he later played one season for the New York Rangers. He missed several months of his final season due to injuries.

"He also reportedly participated in 174 career fights in professional hockey," Boston University researchers said, a figure that includes Boogaard's career before reaching the NHL. He is believed to have fought more than 60 times while in the NHL; he scored three goals in the league.

Boogaard had been in a substance abuse recovery program run by the NHL and the players' union, according to The New York Times.

In representing the Boogaard family, Gibbs is joined by fellow attorney Thomas A. Demetrio; the pair "also represent the family of Chicago Bears great Dave Duerson and other NFL players in lawsuits against the league stemming from concussions and CTE," according the their law firm's website.

The lawsuit comes weeks after the Boogaard family's lawsuit against the NHL Players Association was dismissed, the AP reports. That suit, filed last autumn, sought $9.8 million in damages.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Comedian George Carlin Is National Portrait Gallery's Newest Face

NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Kelly Carlin, the daughter of the late comedian George Carlin, about the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's unveiling of her father's portrait Friday.
NPR

Calif. Governor Can't Make It Rain, But Can Make Relief Money Pour

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed his sweeping $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill Friday. It funds water infrastructure improvements like flood control and aid for farmworkers.
NPR

Nigerian President Faces Tough Reelection Campaign

Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to vote for their new president. The incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who says he's tough on security and corruption.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.