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Ex-football players fight for compensation for brain injuries

More and more athletes in Ontario and other provinces and territories want action to be taken by sports authorities to prevent head injuries. Many ex-participants in contact sports suffer the long-term consequences of multiple brain injuries caused by concussions. Arland Bruce is one victim who is now fighting for compensation of concussion-related damages.

However, his quest is proving to be exceptionally challenging. In 2014, Bruce filed a suit against the nine franchises of the Canadian Football league in another province. The 40-year-old ex-CFL player asserts that his brain injuries have prevented him from earning a gainful income, and seeks recovery of past and future income along with medical expenses and rehabilitation costs -- also past and future. In that case, the respondents argued that his claim had to be resolved through arbitration rather than in court, and both the provincial Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals agreed.

Bruce's subsequent application to the Supreme Court of Canada to file an appeal was also dismissed. Apparently, he is only one of many former football players who seek compensation. Reportedly, in 2015, over 200 CFL players filed a class-action claim in Ontario for damages caused by concussions. These ex-players all participated in the sport from 1952 through 2015.

The Canadian Football League Players Association filed a grievance after the denial of Bruce's appeal application. CFLPA claims the CFL was negligent and failed to prevent injuries, and it seeks compensation for players to cover damages and appropriate interest along with changes that will bring about the prevention of brain injuries. Furthermore, the association asks for a policy change that will provide players with provincial workers' compensation coverage. To fight such a complicated legal battle in Ontario, any former athlete would benefit from having an experienced lawyer in his or her corner.

Source: Ottawa Sun, "Arland Bruce files concussion-related grievance against CFL and five teams", Gord Holder, April 6, 2018

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