New York, NY – The family of the late Derek Boogaard reportedly filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the National Hockey League on Friday.
According to the New York Times, the family feels that the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that Boogaard sustained over his six- year career. The family is also putting the blame on the league for Boogaard's addiction to prescription painkillers.
Boogaard was found dead of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol on May 13, 2011. He was 28.
"To distill this to one sentence, you take a young man, you subject him to trauma, you give him pills for that trauma, he becomes addicted to those pills, you promise to treat him for that addiction, and you fail," William Gibbs, a lawyer for the Boogaards, told the paper.
The lawsuit states that Boogaard fought at least 66 times over the course of his career and, according to the suit, "was provided copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills, and painkiller injections by NHL team's physicians, dentists, trainers and staff" to combat the injuries and pain he endured.
In addition, the suit alleges that Boogaard was given at least 13 injections of a masking agent for pain in the last two years of his career, provided by doctors of at least seven NHL teams. He was prescribed over 1,000 pills from numerous doctors during the 2008-09 season with the Minnesota Wild. Following the season, doctors prescribed 150 pills of oxycodone over 16 days after operations on his nose and his shoulder.
A spokesperson for the NHL declined to comment about the lawsuit.
Boogaard had three goals and 13 assists to go along with 589 penalty minutes in 277 career games with the Wild and Rangers.