Why doesn't the NHL do more to prevent it?
Enforcers, players whose entire purpose is to intimidate the other team, have always been a part of the National Hockey League. In recent years, however, they have been garnering attention for reasons other than their tough play and intimidating presence. In the last few years medical researchers have begun to examine the effects repeated head injuries have on professional athletes. Researchers have discovered that repeated blows to the head suffered by athletes can result in a form of dementia. This form of dementia known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a new disease that has only been seen in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that has been linked to the deaths of many young athletes, including Minnesota Wild enforcer Dereck Boogaard. Boogaard was 28 years old when he died from the disease in may 2011. The disease results in the degeneration of brain tissue, which in turn causes dementia, as well as addictive and depressive behaviour. CTE is the only form of dementia that is preventable yet the National Hockey League (NHL) is plagued with head injuries. Although the NHL has made changes to rules in order to help prevent head injuries, players are still suffering from concussions.