The family of Derek Boogaard has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the National Hockey League.
It contends that the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage Boogaard suffered during six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers, and for the addiction to prescription painkillers that marked his final two years.
Boogaard was under contract with the New York Rangers when he was found dead of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol on May 13, 2011. He was 28. He was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
‘‘To distill this to one sentence,’’ said William Gibbs, a lawyer for the Boogaards, ‘‘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.’’
The NHL, through a spokesman, declined to comment Sunday.
Consuming 55 pages of detailed accusations, the suit does not seek specific damages to be awarded to Boogaard’s parents and four siblings. It asks that a trial jury determine ‘‘a sum in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limit’’ for each of eight counts in the suit.
Len Boogaard, Derek’s father, declined to comment.
The suit was filed late Friday by the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio, in Cook County Circuit Court. The firm brought a similar case against the NFL in 2012 on behalf of Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears player who committed suicide in 2011 at age 50 and was diagnosed with CTE. His suit has been consolidated with that of roughly 4,200 former NFL players suing the league for damages incurred during their athletic careers.
The Boogaard suit against the NHL was filed in time to beat a two-year statute of limitation for wrongful-death cases in places like Illinois and New York, Gibbs said.
A previous lawsuit the Boogaard family filed against the NHL’s Players Association in September, through a different lawyer, was dismissed this spring. In that case, the family said the union, after expressing interest in helping the pursue a case against the league, missed a deadline for filing a grievance.
A judge, in turn, ruled that the family waited too long to act and dismissed the case.
While this Boogaard lawsuit is broadly aimed at the NHL, it details the care Boogaard received from specific team doctors of the Rangers and Minnesota Wild, and the co-directors and a primary counselor of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, which oversaw Boogaard’s care after he entered rehabilitation while playing for the Wild in September 2009.
In July 2010, after five seasons with the Wild, Boogaard signed a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers. His last game was on Dec. 9, 2010, when Boogaard suffered a concussion — one of dozens, the family believes — during a fight in Ottawa.
The next April, after stumbling on the ice during a Rangers workout, Boogaard was sent to drug rehabilitation a second time. It was during that stint that he was granted two extended, unsupervised recesses. He died in his Minneapolis apartment on the first night of his second leave.
The lawsuit notes that Boogaard played in 277 NHL games over six seasons and scored three goals. He fought at least 66 times on the ice and, according the suit, ‘‘was provided copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills, and painkiller injections by NHL teams’ physicians, dentists, trainers and staff’’ to combat the injuries and pain he endured.
For example, the suit alleges that Boogaard was given at least 13 injections of Toradol, a masking agent for pain, in the last two years of his career, by doctors of at least seven NHL teams.
The suit also says Boogaard was prescribed 1,021 pills from about a dozen doctors during the 2008-09 season with the Wild. At the end of that season, after operations on his nose and his shoulder, doctors prescribed Boogaard 150 pills of oxycodone over 16 days, the suit alleges.
Months later, during training camp, Boogaard was sent to drug rehabilitation for his addiction to prescription painkillers.
‘’Due to his ingestion of an inordinate amount of pain medications prescribed by NHL team physicians, Derek Boogaard became addicted to opioids,’’ the suit alleges.
It states that the NHL ‘‘breached its duty to Derek Boogaard’’ by, among other things, failing to monitor his prescriptions or establish proper procedures for administering and tracking them. It alleges that the substance-abuse program knew that Boogaard violated its rules many times — including a series of failed drug tests in his final months and his admission that he sometimes bought painkillers illegally — yet never disciplined or suspended him, as program rules dictate.
The lawsuit also says the NHL should have known that ‘‘enforcers/fighters’’ had increased risk for injuries, concussions and addiction.
‘’On numerous occasions, the NHL allowed and encouraged Derek Boogaard, after suffering concussions, to return to play and fight in the same game and/or practice,’’ the suit alleges.
Gibbs, the family’s lawyer, said: ‘‘It’s easy to watch a game and see these guys as superhuman. And they are not.’’