By Jenny Masters
Flyers trainers Jim McCrossin and Sal Raffa have filed a lawsuit against the team’s ownership, alleging they were unknowingly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals used in Zambonis at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees.
McCrossin, the director of medical services, and assistant athletic trainer Raffa allege “as a direct and proximate result of repeated and prolonged exposure” to the chemicals used in Zambonis they “developed rare medical conditions.”
According to the suit, which was filed April 12 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, McCrossin and Raffa both developed essential thrombocythemia, a rare disorder in which the body produces too many platelets. McCrossin also developed myeloproliferative neoplasm and myelofibrosis, a type of blood cancer, the complaint says.
McCrossin and Raffa allege in the lawsuit that the Zambonis used “gasoline and/or fuel containing and/or producing carcinogens.” They also say in the documents that there are other comparable ice-surfacing machines available that do not require gasoline or fuel with carcinogens.
They also allege that the ice machines were stored in a “small, enclosed room” and “operated multiple times per day.”
“Defendants knew or should have known that the Zamboni machine emitted carcinogen(s) inside the Flyers Training Center in the course of its ordinary, foreseeable, and intended use,” the complaint says.
McCrossin has worked at the facility since 2000 while Raffa has worked there since 2004, according to the lawsuit. They are both still employed by the team.
The team said in a statement the safety of its employees and guests at the training facilities and all other facilities is “always a top priority.”
“We have looked into the allegations made by Jim McCrossin and Sal Raffa over the course of several months, and, based on that, believe that their claims have no merit,” the statement said. “Beyond that, we cannot comment further given that this matter is in litigation.”
A total of 11 defendants are named in the suit, including team owner Comcast and other companies who owned or controlled the “property at issue, engaged in emitting, creating, using, handling, transporting, storing, transferring, dispensing, distributing, and/or permitting exposure to benzene, and/or other carcinogens at the property at issue.