Dan Carcillo joins players in landmark concussion lawsuit against NHL

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Dave Chidley)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Dave Chidley)

Two-time Stanley Cup champion Dan Carcillo, notoriously outspoken about head injuries and concussions in the sport of hockey, announced that he is joining a group of former NHL players in its groundbreaking lawsuit against the league.

Carcillo told TSN’s Rick Westhead about his decision on Thursday and, according to the 33-year-old, it isn’t about a pay-out or an agenda — but rather a move he hopes will better protect players past, present and future.

“I’m not a bitter guy looking to hurt the NHL. I’m not out for money. I’ll donate anything I get to research. I just want to put pressure on the NHL and educate and advocate for guys,” Carcillo told Westhead.

The former Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, the New York Rangers and Phoenix forward played a scrappy role throughout his 429-game NHL career — one that brought with it a myriad of injuries, including serious concussions. He knows all to well the thin line players tread between looking out for their careers, maximizing income and taking care of their brains.

“Some of the onus for sure is on players. These are our bodies. But everyone is scared to say anything,” he said. “You might not get another NHL contract. So we say ‘yes’ all the time and act like good little boys.”


Since retiring, Carcillo has become an outspoken advocate for brain injury treatment and prevention. Aside from blasting his Twitter feed with articles and discussion surrounding the issues, he recently reached out to each and every NHL club to raise concussion awareness, according to Westhead, and previously published an article with the Players’ Tribune, preaching the need for more mental health resources for struggling players after the untimely death of his close friend and former teammate Steve Montador in 2015.

The landmark case against the National Hockey League first started to gain steam when the first documents were filed over four years ago in a U.S. District Court. Lawyers and former players named in the suit reportedly gathered last week in court to debate whether or not the case should go to trial as a class action. Judge Susan Nelson will likely take weeks or even months to make her decision, but, if she approves, upwards of 5,000 players (with those numbers growing consistently) will automatically become plaintiffs in the case.

The National Football League was the first and last major sports league to engage in a much-publicized concussion dispute, as the league became the subject of a class-action suit by former players alleging the NFL hid information and failed to adequately inform players of the risk of head injuries and brain trauma. The league ended up settling for approximately $1 billion when all was said and done.

Par for the course, Gary Bettman and upper-NHL brass have yet to publicly acknowledge a link between concussions suffered in hockey and the degenerative brain disease CTE.

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