Unfortunately the saying, "I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out," is especially true lately. 3 former or current National Hockey League (NHL) enforcers (a hockey team's most gruesome position to play) have died in the last four months.
These tragedies may not be coincidence, since each case exibits the known effects of extreme or repetitive concussions.
- Substance abuse. Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers was found dead in his home after consuming a fatal mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.
- Depression. Both retired enforcer Wade Belak and Vancouver Canucks player Rick Rypien recently passed away for unknown reasons, though both had a known history of depression.
Long term effects of concussions also include anxiety, increased aggression, and loss of memory and communication skills. To those who shrug off concussions as a necessary risk of the game, just consider not being able to take your SATs because the words the words suddenly don't make sense.
We don't mean to freak you out, but head injuries should receive more attention than mosquito bites (which are currently in the lead). If you are recovering from such an injury, remember to:
- Avoid activity that would cause another jolt or blow to the head.
- Don't drink alcohol.
- Ask your doctor when it's okay to drive, bike, or do other high-motor-skilled activity.
What Can You Do?
- Donate sports equipment and promote safer games among underserved athletes.
- Check out how these students educate others about concussions.
- Sign up with your school athletic department to work with coaches to prevent concussions on the field.