The family of Derek Boogaard, the NHL player with a brain injury who took his own life, filed a lawsuit against the player’s union. The issues in the lawsuit point to their knowledge of Derek’s condition and the failure of the player’s union to assist him with getting the help he needed. Known as an “Enforcer”, Boogaard was used as a fighter in games and he experienced multiple concussions in the course of his short career. As he became dependent on pain medications to maintain his status as a player, his brain injuries should have been considered and action taken to provide him with appropriate medical care and rehabilitation. The course of symptoms exhibited by Mr. Boogaard were consistent with those exhibited by individuals with histories of multiple concussive injuries. The examination of Mr. Boogaard’s brain after his suicide confirmed that he had a degenerative brain condition, known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE.
Brain injury related to sports is slowly being addressed by the leagues as well as player associations, but the changes in safety equipment, injury detection and intervention are just not evolving fast enough. We all like the excitement of professional sports like football and hockey, but we cannot continue to allow players to be exposed to repeated injuries. Each story of a player’s struggle with undiagnosed brain injury highlights the importance of moving to enhance safety and improve injury detection.
Click here to read the New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/sports/hockey/result-of-boogaard-suit-against-nhl-union-could-exceed-outline.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120927