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Predators left wing Eric Nystrom (24) warms up before their game against the Wild at Bridgestone Arena Saturday Jan. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / The Tennessean)
A former Nashville Predators player is suing the NHL team for medical expenses that he says stem from a series of injuries he got on the ice.
Eric Nystrom, who played with the Predators from 2013-16, filed the lawsuit through an attorney Wednesday in Davidson County Circuit Court.
The complaint specifies three separate times Nystrom was injured while playing hockey for the Predators: hurting his hip and leg on Sept. 3, 2013; suffering a concussion on Nov. 15, 2013; and injuring his back on Jan. 12, 2014.
Each injury left him "temporarily and totally disabled for a period of time" and he also has "a permanent partial disability" as a result, the lawsuit states.
In a text message after the lawsuit was filed, Nystrom said he was “just pursuing my rights under the (Tennessee Workers' Compensation) Law."
"It’s as simple as that," he said.
Read More: Eric Nystrom preparing for life after Predators, hockey
The Predators declined to address the lawsuit in a statement, saying, "The team doesn’t comment on pending claims."
Nystrom's attorney Gregg Ramos said it is typical for professional athletes to ask for and receive lifetime medical benefits for treatment related to sports injuries. Tennessee law allows it, he said.
In Nystrom's case, Ramos said, the Predators' insurance company did not agree to the coverage during mediation earlier this year.
"One of the most important things for my professional athletes is the right to lifetime medical benefits," said Ramos, who has represented members of the Tennessee Titans and other former Predators players. "It's not really about money. It's to preserve that right to lifetime medical benefits."
Ramos predicted a trial would result in the payment of lifetime medical benefits.
"We'll get to the same place; it just takes a little more work now," he said.
In addition to the medical benefits and legal fees, Nystrom is asking for a financial settlement to compensate him for the impact the injuries have had on his life and career.
Nystrom "had to retire in large part because these injuries slowed him down," Ramos said.
Nystrom, 34, signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the Predators on July 5, 2013. He played 185 games for the Predators before they bought out the final year of his contract in June 2016. As part of that buyout, Nashville had to pay Nystrom $2 million of the remaining $3 million owed to him. He’s since been out of the NHL.
Adam Vingan contributed to this report.
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