Stephen Peat, 36, is another former NHL player living with the problems created by his multiple concussions. Peat last played in the 2005-6 season. Known as an “enforcer”, Peat suffers from the same problems that plagued Boogard, Belak and Rypen other former NHL players and “enforcers” following their retirement. Through the constant fights they are involved in on the ice, these “enforcers” are at risk for frequent concussions and sub-concussive hits. Peat talks about incapacitating headaches on the left side of his head and remembers that as a right-handed fighter his left side was most vulnerable to hits. Suffering from headaches, sleep, memory and concentration problems, anxiety and impulsive behaviors Peat is unable to hold a steady job and is a constant worry for his father, Walter Peat. Stephen has struggled with addiction to pain medication among his other problems yet, on a daily basis, he suffers from severe headaches.
Currently Stephen Peat and his father are rebuilding their home that Stephen torched. Although he has plead guilty to arson, Peat cannot remember the incident other than leaving a blowtorch unattended. His father worries that his son will end up like Derek Boogard and commit suicide. Peat says he would never his life, but his unpredictable behavior leaves his father constantly thinking about his son and this past year he reached out to Boogard’s family.
A lawsuit against the NHL is developing, but as we know from the NFL lawsuit and settlement, these tend to be “much too late and to little to count” in terms of the real lifetime needs of a person living with the effects of multiple conditions. At 36 Stephen Peat could have many years ahead of him, but the debilitating aspects of his brain injuries can turn his future into one of ever increasing problems.
It’s time for the professional sports leagues to acknowledge the risks of the sports and to provide information on those risks to players and compensate them for the care they will need for those injuries as they get older. Professional sports leagues worry about their viewership and making money more than they worry about the long-term effects of the sport on the brains of former players.