NHL teams like the Florida Panthers may soon be under increased legal pressure regarding their treatment of players. After the 2011 death of an enforcer, his family is suing the league. His survivors allege that the NHL failed to protect him from the brain damage he incurred during his six seasons of play immediately prior to his death and may have contributed to his demise.
The lawsuit claims that the player, who died of an accidental alcohol and pain medicine overdose, had a history of narcotics addiction that the league already knew about. According to the lawsuit, however, various NHL staff gave him a total of over 1,000 painkiller prescriptions in one single season of play. Post-mortem examinations showed that he had suffered numerous catastrophic injuries to the skull and brain, and the family claims that the NHL should have known he wasn't getting proper medical treatment.