Former NHL referee Paul Stewart is the latest to be added to the growing number of former players suing the NHL.  The players allege that the NHL did not provide adequate warning of the effects of concussions and head trauma and failed to provide proper diagnosis and care for those who suffered such injuries. They also claim that the league ‘promoted and glorified unreasonable and unnecessary violence leading to head trauma.’

From The Hockey News:

One of the more gregarious and easy-going personalities in the game, Stewart now suffers from depressive and anxiety disorders, anger, impulse and temper control issues and a loss of memory.

And more importantly, Stewart also has had a brain tumor. Last April, Stewart had a golf-ball sized benign tumor removed from his brain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had spent much of the previous three seasons in Russia as a judicial and discipline consultant to the KHL. “When I got home from Russia, I promise you, things were not pleasant,” says Stewart, who turns 62 next month. “At first I thought it was because I was gone so long. I’m better since the surgery, but every day I really have to work at it.”

According to the lawsuit, Stewart suffered at least five concussions during his playing career, “as well as numerous undiagnosed concussions and sub concussive hits to the head, causing him to see stars and bright white lights, and experience wobbly legs and a fuzzy head, all of which were not properly treated.”

Stewart recalls far more concussions sustained during his career, which included 1,010 NHL games and 49 playoff games — all without a helmet:

“Between my playing days and my officiating career, I returned to work through 26 or 27 concussions. That’s an estimate of the ones I can surmise in retropect that I sustained. There were probably others as well that are lost to time, although my long term memory remains sharp as a tack. My short-term memory has suffered big time, though. I joke about senior moments but I suspect all the concussions played into it.”

“In a refereeing capacity, I’ve been concussed after falling and hitting my head on the ice. I’ve been concussed when my head hit the glass above the boards. I’ve been concussed after I was accidentally(?) elbowed. I viewed it as just part of the game, because I was hardly alone.”

Stewart shared some of his symptoms – and war stories – with The Guardian:

He has headaches and he forgets things. He had a brain tumor a few years ago and the neurologists told him they have no idea if there is a correlation. He says he has promised his brain to Boston University’s Center Traumatic Encephalopathy to help doctors there study the effects of CTE.

“I’ve got things going on,” he says.  “My wife thinks there are definitely mood swings. I still have long-term memory but my short-term memory is not so hot. But I fight every day to stay on my feet and keep going.”

He’s not the only official battling the repercussions of head injuries.  Linesman Thor Nelson has missed the past two seasons due to post-concussion symptoms, according to Stewart. (Nelson is not part of the concussion-related litigation.)

“I have two children and a family and I gave my life to the game,” Stewart told The Hockey News. “Things are pretty bleak for me.”

Former players included in the lawsuit are: 

Dan LaCouture Mike Peluso Reed Larson
Dave Christian Bernie Nicholls Gary Leeman
Alexandre Pokulok Allan Rourke Barry Scott Bjugstad
Blaine Stoughton Blair Stewart Bobby Dollas
Brad Maxwell Bradley Aitken Brian Savage
Bruce Bell Cam Connor Cory Larose
Craig Muni Craig Redmond Curt Bennett
Dan Keczmer Darren Banks Darren Langdon
Dave Hutchinson Dennis Maruk Dennis Vaske
Deron Quint Don Murdoch Edward Kennedy
Frank Spring Garry Howatt Gary McAdam
Gene Carr Greg Adams Greg Terrion
Harold Druken Harry York Jack Carlson
Jason Doig Jamie Lundmark Jean Jomphe
Jeff Parker Jeffrey Shevalier Jim Hofford
Joe Dziedzic Joe Murphy John Blue
Jon Rohloff Keith Brown Kevin Stevens
Krzysztof Oliwa Kurt Walker Lance Pitlick
Lyndon Byers Malcolm Davis Martin Simard
Michael Hartman Michal Pivonka Michel Petit
Mike Lalor Morris Titanic Richard Brennan
Richard Brodeur Richard Dunn Rick Berry
Robert Manno Robert Murdoch Ron Flockhart
Rudy Poeschek Sasha Lakovic Scott Bailey
Scott Parker Sergio Momesso Shawn Chambers
Shayne Stevenson Simon Danis-Pepin Stephen Patrick
Steve Ludzik Steve Payne Terry Ruskowski
Todd Elik Todd Harvey Todd Warriner
Tom Cassidy Tom Younghans Tony Horacek
Turner Stevenson Vernon Westfall Warren Holmes
William Bennett Warren “Butch” Williams
Newly Added:
Bob Flockhart Dale Purinton Doug Barrie
Gary Dillon Grant Ledyard Jack Egers
Link Gaetz Mike Robitaille Nikos Tselios
Paul Stewart Shawn Anderson Steve Jensen