If you’ve ever sustained a concussion or head injury, you know how dangerous and debilitating they can be. Even if you haven’t, it’s likely you’ve heard about the symptoms that can accompany even the mildest concussion, including headaches, memory loss, concentration difficulties, and balance problems. While sustaining even one concussion can be serious, the implications of sustaining multiple head injuries can be catastrophic.
There are dangers associated with every sport; however, hockey players are among those who are at risk for sustaining head trauma repeatedly over the course of a season. Our Vancouver hockey concussion lawyers are currently representing individuals who are looking to file a lawsuit for injuries they’ve sustained. We recognize the consequences of head injuries, and our personal injury lawyers are here to ensure victims receive the compensation they need to live the highest quality life possible.
Going up Against WHL, CHL, and Hockey Canada
Wishart Brain & Spine Law is representing a former Western Hockey League (WHL) player, James Johnathon McEwan, who has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the WHL, Canadian Hockey League (CHL), and Hockey Canada.
McEwan played for four seasons with the WHL from 2004 to 2008. After his junior career, he played parts of five seasons with the ECHL. His final season was 2014 to 2015. He was rarely given medical attention after his 72 fights. As a result, he is currently showing symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain-withering disease.
According to McEwan, fights often led to temporary confusion, black eyes, swelling, and loss of consciousness. Fights were often encouraged and rewarded by coaches, and medical attention was not provided. The side effects of continuous head trauma include severe anxiety, mood swings, angry outbursts, and personality changes. He also experienced severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
The claim stresses the WHL, CHL, and Hockey Canada should have known that multiple instances of untreated head trauma would lead to long-term injuries. It is being filed on behalf of any and all former CHL players who didn’t advance to the National Hockey League (NHL) and suffered an injury as a result of severe head trauma – including concussive and subconcussive impacts. Compensation is being sought for personal and physical injury, psychological injuries, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and loss of past and future income.
The Consequences of Repetitive Hockey Concussions
For decades, scientific evidence has linked brain trauma to long-term neurological problems. It’s also known that a CHL player is likely to sustain more than 1,000 hits to the head in a single season. Often times, there are no documented concussions.
There are a number of long-term consequences associated with repetitive head impacts and multiple concussions. The most common include:
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE, which McEwan has showed signs of, is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes. Military veterans and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma are also at risk. In CTE, a protein forms clumps that slowly spread through the brain and kill brain cells. Symptoms include progressive memory and cognition decline, depression, suicidal behavior, poor impulse control, and dementia.
- Dementia Pugilistica. This is a neurodegenerative disease, also known as punch-drunk Sufferers experience tremors, slowed movement, confusion, lack of coordination, and memory and speech problems.
- Slower Neurological Recovery. Multiple concussions may be associated with slower recovery of neurological function. This means that the more head trauma someone sustains, the longer it will take for them to return to their normal level of functioning. As time goes one, the damage may become permanent.
- Depression. There is a relationship between concussion history and diagnosis of lifetime depression. Athletes with three or more concussions are more likely to be diagnosed with depression. This mental disorder affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. A variety of emotional and physical problems can decrease a person’s ability to function. Common symptoms include changes in appetite, sleeping issues, and thoughts of suicide.
- Neurocognitive Impairments. It’s likely that hockey players experience changes in cognitive function after repetitive head impacts. Symptoms like the inability to concentrate, confusion, irritability, and loss of balance may become permanent if multiple concussions are sustained. Individuals are at risk for developing lasting and progressive impairments that significantly limit function and quality of life.
Seeking Justice for Head Injury Victims
In addition to this claim, the CHL is facing class-action lawsuits in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. Those claims are related to working conditions for players. At Wishart Brain & Spine Law, our lawyers are dedicated to helping victims all over British Columbia. We have represented hundreds of former players seeking concussion-related compensation and are prepared to take on your case next.
If you’ve suffered from head trauma under circumstances similar to the ones discussed above, our Vancouver hockey concussion lawyers can help you file a claim. We’ll fight on your behalf and seek the compensation you need to cover the expenses and losses related to your injury. Contact us to start your legal journey today.