The family of Steve Montador plans on filing a lawsuit against the NHL after it was discovered he had CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), the same neurodegenerative disease posthumously found in other athletes that suffered multiple concussions in contact sports.
Katie Strang of ESPN.com reports that that the family is working with William Gibbs of the law firm Corboy & Demetrio, which is also pursuing a wrongful death suit against the NHL on behalf of the late Derek Boogaard’s family.
Montador, who played for five NHL teams including the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks, was found dead inside his Mississauga home on Feb. 15. Police said no foul play was suspected. Montador has donated his brain for research after his death.
From ESPN.com, a statement from the Montador family:
"First and foremost, our family has forever lost a son, brother, uncle and father," Montador's father, Steve, said in a statement. "Many others have lost a great friend. The finding of widespread CTE in Steven's brain helps us all better understand that his brain was ravaged by disease and he was unable to control it. Through hard work and dedication, Steven achieved his big dream of playing professional hockey in the NHL. He always knew that there might be black eyes, broken bones and soft tissue injuries -- but he never anticipated that playing the game he loved would result in such devastating impairment of his brain function. CTE changed everything."
The NHL is facing a lawsuit with dozens of former players’ names attached to it, alleging that the NHL “did nothing” on concussions until 2011 and that commissioner Gary Bettman’s cautious approach to CTE – saying the “data isn’t there” that it can affect the majority of players – is irresponsible.
Boogaard, Rick Martin and Bob Probert are among the others to have been diagnosed with CTE after their deaths.
No matter your feelings on the lawsuits, we come back to Daniel Carcillo’s heartfelt words about his friend Montador: Former players need more support, of every kind, from the NHL after their playing days are over.