Boogaard Family Sues NHL Over Their Son’s Death

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Derek Boogaard’s Family Sue’s Over Their Son’s Death

Derek Boogaard’s family has filed a lawsuit against the NHL by his family. Derek was 28 years old when he died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone in May of 2011. The law suite accuses the NHL of negligence and with supplying Derek with the painkillers.

Derek’s family donated his brain to the researchers at Boston University which is known for it’s focus on sports related brain and head trauma. They found that early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a disease that is linked to repeated brain trauma.

Boogaard’s Family Lawyer’s states:

The NHL drafted Derek Boogaard because it wanted his massive body to fight in order to enhance ratings, earnings and exposure. Fighting night after night took its expected toll on Derek’s body and mind,To deal with the pain, he turned to the team doctors, who dispensed pain pills like candy. Then, once he became addicted to these narcotics, the NHL promised his family that it would take care of him. It failed. He died.

Just three years before Derek died of his drug overdose, he was punched in the mouth during a fight at a Wild game. He broke a tooth. Within days, Derek, who was the Wild’s 6 ft. 7 in. enforcer, was bouncing from one team doctor to another. He was seeking a steady stream of painkillers. Derek ended up getting the painkillers, 165 in the first four weeks then 432 by the end of the season.

His caring family blames the National Hockey League for his death. However, the lawsuit does shed light onto a problem with the medical profession. The Medical Profession is now facing it’s role in the drug-abuse epidemic that kills nearly 15,000 people a year.The Boogaard family’s lawsuit opened a window into how these young athlete’s are becoming hooked on painkillers.

Derek was known as the enforcer, which means he was the guy who roughed up people on the other team. When the fight broke out during the game on October 16, 2008, his broken tooth was just another occupational hazard, so to speak.

Just four days after his tooth was broke, Derek was prescribed 15 pills of Hydrocodone, from Doctor Kyle Edlund which was the team dentist. Three days after that he got prescribed 5 more Vicodin pills from the team medical doctor, Sheldon Burns. The medical chart show that Derek had gotten at least 115 more prescription pain pills in the next twenty-four days from five of the team doctors or dentists, which all were prescribed for the “tooth injury” except for one.

While Boogaard was on his quest for more pills he even sought pills from another team’s doctor…Dr. Arthur Ting. Dr. Ting was accused of writing painkiller prescriptions for friends and other athletes under fake names. Ting was still on probation by the California Medical Board when he authorized the 40 pills for Derek.

The lawsuit states that by September 2009 Derek was “addicted to these pain pills, often ingesting up to 10 per day.” One of the family’s lead lawyers believe that since the NHL was paying for the drugs they should have known whether the team medical staff were over-prescribing pain pills.

Edlund, who is the team’s dentist insisted that he never gave Derek any Vicodin.

Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm

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