Many parents encourage their children to participate in sports. Most of them presumably believe the benefits of include not only physical fitness but self-discipline and character development. However, for one family, a sport has allegedly led to the death of their son. The parents of the late New York Rangers hockey player Derek Boogaard have sued the National Hockey League for the wrongful death of their son.

During his career Boogaard was known as one of the most intimidating fighters in the league. He was used by his teams primarily as an enforcer. In their wrongful death claim, the family alleges that Boogaard sustained brain damage over six seasons as a hockey player in the N.H.L. They also claim that the N.H.L. failed to create a monitoring system when prescribing and administrating prescription drugs to their son. The suit alleges that the N.H.L.’s substance abuse program knew that their son was abusing painkillers and failed to discipline him.

In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the person in question and that the plaintiffs have suffered monetary loss as a result. The court will appoint a trustee or personal representative for the decedent’s estate, who will have responsibility for pursuing the claim. There are several types of damages that a plaintiff may seek, including loss of support and loss of companionship. In determining damages, the court may consider and the age and earning capacity of the decedent.

The family and friends of the decedent will forever feel the loss of their loved one. However, seeking compensation for their loss may assist in the financial loss and provide hope for the future.

Source: The New York Times, “In Suit Over Death, Boogaard’s Family Blames the N.H.L.,” John Branch, May 12, 2013