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Former Boston Bruin Jon Rohloff leads another class-action lawsuit against NHL


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21 Feb 1996: Defenseman Jon Rohloff of the Boston Bruins looks on during a game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. The Ducks won the game, 4-3.

Another day, another class-action lawsuit against the NHL claiming the league took insufficient action to reduce brain injuries caused by concussions.

The difference? This third one, as it stands, features just one plaintiff. The man behind it is Jon Rohloff, known to most twenty-something hocey fans as the guy you'd get multiples of in hockey card packs in the '90s.

Rohloff played 150 games for the Boston Bruins between 1994 and 1997, and according to the suit, "he suffered multiple head traumas during his NHL career that were improperly diagnosed and treated by the NHL. Mr. Rohloff was never warned by the NHL of the negative health effects of head trauma."

To that end, the suit alleges the following, via the New York Times

"Former NHL players are uniting to send one resounding message: they signed up to play hockey knowing that they might get injured and dinged, but they did not sign up for brain damage.”

Over the course of an NHL season, a player sustains hundreds of hits to the head. These concussive and sub-concussive impacts, when multiplied over the course of an NHL career, result in impaired brain function or deadly brain disease."

Speaking to the NHL's complacency over concussive hits, the lawsuit speaks about the enforcer culture in hockey, pointing out, "there are even specific players on NHL rosters, often called 'enforcers' or 'goons,' whose sole role is to fist fight and otherwise physically intimidate other players on the ice." 

"By allowing players to punch each other in the face and head repeatedly, and then return to play almost immediately," the suit claims, "the NHL continues to send the message that suffering a blow to the head is not a serious injury."

Rohloff would know about fighting. He dropped the gloves eight times in his career, the last of which was an April 5, 1997 bout with Rob Neidermeyer.

Last year, Rohloff popped up at a Duluth, Minnesota screening of NHL fighting documentary The Last Gladiators, speaking about the evolving enforcer role. 

The lawsuit is seeking medical monitoring, injunctive relief, and financial compensation related to Rohloff's chronic injuries, medical costs, financial losses, and intangible losses suffered as a result of the NHL’s misconduct.

It's also, on a cursory glance, not riddled with insanity and errors like the last one. That alone might be enough for Rohloff to be joined by a few more ex-NHLers. 

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