NHL injuries: Study estimates $200M paid to injured players per year

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

An independent study estimates that injured NHL players account for $200 million of salary per season.

One year and one day after the NHL ended a labor dispute over money, the league has received an opinion on how to be more cost effective.

Dr. Michael Cusimano returned to the hockey world on Monday when he and a group of researchers at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital released an independent study that estimated that player injuries cost the NHL $200 million per season. The study was conducted by analyzing the last three full seasons of competition and estimated that the league collectively allocated $653 million to injured players during that span.

Cusimano explained that the league often advocates violence because it helps generate revenue. This put the wheels in motion to see how much money was potentially lost from violent acts. The method of the study involved going through public databases to find games played, salaries and injuries. The group than leveraged that information against the frequency of specific injuries, the average number of games missed based on injury and the cost to teams through the injury.

According to the study, leg and foot injuries are the most frequent issue and accounted for 30 percent of unearned salaries, followed by head and neck injuries. The group's report found that time lost to concussions accounted for $42.8 million each year.

Cusimano states that this study proves that concussions are not only detrimental to health, but also to business, via the Canadian Press:

"This research shows that preventable injuries-such as concussions, that are clearly related to violent acts in 88 per cent of cases-have an important economic burden in addition to the high personal health costs that players bear," Cusimano said.

Cusimano has remained a figure in the concussion discussion, as he contributed to a study published in July that found that the NHL's rule changes, specifically Rule 48, made little difference in the amount of head injuries in the league.

The study states that insurance companies cover 80 percent of an injured player's salary after the player misses 30 games.

Cusimano tells the Canadian Press that he believes these costs are primary factors in the league's future desire to increase ticket pricing and other expenses.

The NHL did not provide comment for the story.

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