Former NHL player Eric Nystrom is suing the Nashville Predators for medical benefits and financial compensation following injuries he suffered while skating with the team between the 2013-14 season and the 2015-16 season.
As seen on the Tennessean, the lawsuit revolves around three separate injuries Nystrom suffered while competing with the Predators – a hip/leg injury in September of 2013, a concussion in November of 2013 and a back injury in January of 2014.
The Predators’ insurance company reportedly denied Nystrom’s request for lifetime medical benefits for future treatment related to his injuries. Nystrom has also requested financial compensation as he believes the injuries suffered with the Predators ended his career prematurely, limiting his total earning potential.
Nystrom, 34, skated in the NHL for 10 seasons. According to Spotrac, he made over $14.6 million during his time in the league. Some fans are probably going to balk at his lawsuit given the total mentioned in the previous sentence. Some may also point out that there’s no guarantee a fully healthy Nystrom, who has a career-high of 21 points in a season, would have even been able to find a job in the NHL given the evolving nature of the league.
These types of situations are never black and white. Teams have been known to extend lifetime benefits to players, but determining what qualifies and what doesn’t is a difficult conversation. Given the physical nature of hockey, there has to be a line drawn as just about every player could make an argument on the toll injuries take over the course of a career.
The other interesting angle here is the fact Nystrom had a concussion that may have played a role in his early retirement. Back in 2016, over 100 players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NHL over brain injuries suffered during their career. The players in that lawsuit were seeking medical care and a monitoring plan for every retired player. While the full details of Nystrom’s injuries haven’t been outlined and it isn’t clear what role the concussion played, it’s potentially the million dollar (or more) word the Predators and the NHL will notice in the case.