Chicago Blackhawks: The Daniel Carcillo Story (Part IV: CTE and the NHL)
CTE In The NHL
The list of hockey players who have been found with CTE after passing continues to grow over time. One of them notably being Derek Boogard, an enforcer for the New York Rangers who died at just twenty-eight years old. Boogard’s family donated his brain to be researched and tested, and within five months they identified him as suffering from CTE.
Researchers, one of whom being Dr. Ann McKee found that “The condition of Boogaard’s brain, however, suggests the possibility that other current NHL players have the disease, even if the symptoms have not surfaced.” More and more studies have surfaced finding the same thing.
These findings, along with the losses of former NHL players, make the connection between hockey and CTE clear.
The league is still in denial.
Researchers at Boston College, who said that CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head, said “The NHL was not taking the research seriously.” Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, has denied as well, saying “we’re not sure that any, based on the data we have available, is valid.”
The amount of times the NHL has denied connections to CTE is continuing to grow, yet only smaller news outlets are doing anything with this information, causing Carcillo to continue reminding his Twitter followers of these occurrences.
Lack Of Information
In addition to the league’s lack of acknowledgement to CTE and concussions, they haven’t done a very effective job of informing players about the risks involving concussions, either. Rick Westhead, a TSN Senior Correspondent, did some research on this in 2018 in an article titled “NHL lawyer requested dementia warning be removed from concussion poster.”
In this piece, he found that the NHL’s locker room warning posters came in 2013, three years after the NFL put their posters up which advised players of the possible consequences of concussions.
Another example of the NHL being behind the times.
The poster informs players that repeated concussions has the potential to lead to dementia and that repeated concussions “can change your life and your family’s life forever.” The NHL once again completely missed the mark when it came time for them to release their poster.
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Not only do the posters purposefully omit the word “dementia” but they also fail to include that repeated head trauma could lead to permanent brain damage. Somehow, TSN is the only media outlet who has written about their blatant disregard for informing their players.
According to John Keilman of the Chicago Tribune, “Consensus among researches is that a series of sub-concussive blows, rather than a single massive head shot, is the major risk factor for CTE, the dementia-like disease that has been found in more than 100 ex-NFL players.”
The evidence is there, so what is the NHL waiting for?
They’ve failed time and time again to do the right thing. They suspend players for intentional hits to the head, but haven’t made them illegal.
Obviously, they believe contact to the head is a health hazard or they wouldn’t issue suspensions. So, why not take the next step to inform their players?
They hear researchers who have found that hockey puts their players more at risk for CTE, yet they chose to only base their rulings and opinions on those who disagree with the mountain-high pile of evidence. They realize leaving the game of hockey can be tough — even deadly — for ex-players, but why is their exit program limited to only a phone call?
This is exactly why Chapter 5 and creating conversation is necessary. The NHL refuses to acknowledge this problem, which is why I’m calling to fans to support and create conversation. It’s the same reason Carcillo is so outspoken on Twitter. If people are talking, guys like Boogard and Montador can still stay alive in some way. The movement will continue to grow and build.
Read tomorrow for more.