The family of former NHL player Steve Montador filed a lawsuit against the league in a U.S. federal court in Chicago on Tuesday, claiming the league failed to give Montador up-to-date information about the medical risks of long-term brain damage, according to a report from TSN.
Montador was found dead in his greater Toronto area home on Feb. 15, 2015. He was 35 years old. His first child, a son, was born four days after his death.
Montador spent 10 seasons in the NHL and played for six different teams. He played a highly physical game and suffered countless concussions and sub-concussive hits — many of which, the lawsuit claims, went undiagnosed.
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In total, Montador compiled 15 documented concussions during his 10-year career. He suffered heavily from depression, memory problems and erratic behavior and decided long before his death to donate his brain to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project for research purposes. The organization determined in May that Montador indeed suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions and other blunt head trauma.
Montador’s father, Paul Montador, spoke out against the league in a statement.
"The NHL continues to ignore the lasting problems caused by multiple head traumas suffered by its players," Montador said in the statement. "Tragedies like that of my son Steven will continue until the problem is addressed. The NHL knows, but denies, that years of repeated head injuries cause long-term brain problems."
The Montador family’s lawsuit comes while the NHL continues to fight a lawsuit filed by a group of over 100 former NHL players who claim the league did not do enough to educate players on the long-term effects of concussions and did not work hard enough to protect players from concussions.
The TSN story has more details from the Montador case, highlighting the numerous ways the Montador family says the league ignored available information on concussions in favor of keeping fighting in the game. This failure to act, the family claimed, resulted in tragic outcomes for Montador and multiple other NHL players.