Monday, September 5, 2011

Are NHL enforcers' addictions, depression a result of on-ice brain trauma? (Are all the specators having fun yet?)

Neurosurgeon Robert Cantu and his team at Boston University study the brains of deceased athletes. They have already examined the brains of Reggie Fleming, an enforcer in the '60s, and Bob Probert, an enforcer who retired in 2002 after 16 NHL seasons and died in July 2010 of a heart attack.

Cantu and his research team Ann McKee, Robert Stern and Chris Nowinski found that both Fleming and Probert had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by blunt impact to the head.The researchers also examined the brain of Dave Duerson, a former National Football Leaguye player who committed suicide in February. Duerson also had CTE.

The brains were studied at the Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, a collaboration between Boston University Medical School and the Sports Legacy Institute, which was co-founded by Cantu.

In the interview, Cantu explains that addiction, depression and anxiety may result from CTE. more