Derek Boogaard’s Family Files Lawsuit


The family of Derek Boogaard, the NHL player with a brain injury who took his own life, filed a lawsuit against the player’s union. The issues in the lawsuit point to their  knowledge of Derek’s condition and the failure of the player’s union to assist him with getting the help he needed. Known as an “Enforcer”, Boogaard was used as a fighter in games and he experienced multiple concussions in the course of his short career. As he became dependent on pain medications to maintain his status as a player, his brain injuries should have been considered and action taken to provide him with appropriate medical care and rehabilitation. The course of symptoms exhibited by Mr. Boogaard were consistent with those exhibited by individuals with histories of multiple concussive injuries. The examination of Mr. Boogaard’s brain after his suicide confirmed that he had a degenerative brain condition, known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE.

Brain injury related to sports is slowly being addressed by the leagues as well as player associations, but the changes in safety equipment, injury detection and intervention are just not evolving fast enough. We all like the excitement of professional sports like football and hockey, but we cannot continue to allow players to be exposed to repeated injuries. Each story of a player’s struggle with undiagnosed brain injury highlights the importance of moving to enhance safety and improve injury detection.

Click here to read the New York Times story:

taglines: brain injury, concussive brain injury, CTE, multiple brain injuries, rehabilitation


About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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