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Study: NHL Loses Millions Each Year in Salary Paid to Injured Players

January 21st, 2014 at 2:00 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101
A new study indicated the NHL is costing itself millions of dollars by not adequately preventing head and other injuries
 
Researchers from Toronto presented their findings in the journal Injury Prevention. The study analyzed the economic burden on NHL teams due to games lost to injury; NHL players earn their salaries even when hurt.
 
'044-002 // Ryan Miller (12/5/2013)' photo (c) 2013, grilled cheese - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
 
The study examined the 2009-10 through 2011-12 seasons. It found that 50.9 percent of all players missed at one game per season due to injury, and that NHL teams paid $218 million a year to players who weren't in the lineup. The biggest portion of that – $42.8 million a year – went to players with head and neck injuries like concussions.
 
The league has been called upon for years to improve player safety in regards to concussions. The league has stepped up enforcement of rules relating to hits in the head. The Buffalo Sabres' Tyler Myers was recently handed a three-game suspension for an illegal head shot.
This is due in part to a lawsuit the league faces that was brought on by 10 former players, including ex-Sabres Richie Dunn, Morris Titanic and Rick Vaive. They claim the league didn't do enough in the 1970s and 1980s to protect players from concussions – a matter that netted a group of former NFL players a $765 million settlement from the league.
 
But more can be done. During the time the study was conducted, Ryan Miller missed eight games due to a concussion he suffered at the hands of Boston's Milan Lucic in a check that was not penalized in the early part of the 2011-12 season. And former Sabre Cody McCormick suffered two concussions during the 2011-12 season that resulted in his missing double-digit games.
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, Milan Lucuc, NHL, Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers

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