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They know the risk?

by Jason Miller

     Here’s an idea for the NFL….we take the facemask off the helmet and that will stop guys from leading with their heads.  Seriously it’s got to work, right?

The only problem with that idea is this…the players in the NHL don’t have facemasks and they are still dealing with concussions and pain and other debilitating issues.  They still are hitting with great force and keeping alive the enforcer which has been around since the start of the game.  

I give to you, Derek Boogaard.  28 years old, the enforcer for the New York Rangers and has done a great job of making sure other players know, that when he is on the ice you are on notice.  Derek’s life since joining the Rangers has been that of fighting and scoring goals.  But that first part, fighting came with a price.  It came with the price of popping pills and was administered injections to deal with the pain from those altercations.  Sound like fun, oh sure he’s getting millions.  All that money he must be okay, he can afford to get treatments that most of could only dream about.  Well Derek Boogaard who was only 28 years old is dead.  He was found in his residency, overdosed from the pain-killers he was taking.

This doesn’t happen with everyone, this doesn’t happen even sometimes.  This unfortunate ending has his family suing the NHL with a wrongful death suit.  Boogaard’s family hired a firm that knows something about these suits, the law firm of Corboy & Demetrio, the same firm that brought a case against the NFL on behalf of the family of Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in 2011 after battling C.T.E., "a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma."  Boogaard was posthumously diagnosed with C.T.E.

What does this mean for collision sports?  What does this mean for those who are playing or want to play these sports, where you put your body through so much to get to the top?  

I have only one answer for those who are in it and those who inspire to get there. Know the risks and if you don’t like the risks of your sport, then get out.  Don’t be the next Derek Boogaard or Dave Duerson.  Use your brain while you can and make a choice, is it worth the possible outcome or is sitting behind a desk collecting a paycheck sound not so bad?

There are so many people trying to get there and so many that have made it.  I will leave you with this; the NFL Network had a great interview with Jim Plunkett, Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Joe Montana, with host Bob Costas.  Bob asked every one of them about the concussions they have experienced and what that did to them as a player.  Aaron Rodgers answered it the most truthful, we know the risk, and we accept that.  Somewhere in there is why they are who they are.  All Super Champions and MVP’s of the NFL that’s who they are.