Multiple concussions affected Steve Montador, a former NHL player, who was found dead at his Ontario home. Montador, although not known as an enforcer like Derek Boogaard another NHL player who ended his life with alcohol and drugs, Montador was involved in 66 fights on the ice in his 10 year career. Boogaard was involved in 61 fights.While the cause of Montador’s death is yet to be formally determined, the effects of multiple concussions is believed to be the cause as he suffered from depression and personality changes over recent years. His brain has been donated to study.
Much like the former pro-football players problems with multiple concussions leading to changes in the brain, the number of National Hockey League players with lasting post-concussion issues is increasing. Bob Probet, Derek Boogaard, Butch Goring and Manny Legace experienced multiple concussions and subsequent mental health, cognitive and substance abuse problems. The signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE has been identified in former NHL players and, like the former pro-football players with the same diagnosis, has been attributed to multiple concussions.
The NHL lawsuit has increased to 200 former players with 500 other former players expressing interest and support. Supposedly, Steve Montador was in the process of discussing his joining the lawsuit with an attorney in the days prior to his death. Much like the NFL lawsuit, former players contend that the NHL did not share information with players about the risks of multiple concussions and did little to prevent further injury through detection or protect players.
As much as love sports, we need to understand the risks associated with injuries to the brain and develop strategies to identify players who experience concussions, get them to medical and rehabilitation professionals before the multiple injuries take their toll and work to make sports safer.