In February 2015, former Chicago Blackhawks player Steve Montador died at the age of 35.
Montodor had spoken publicly about his battle with depression following a concussion sustained while playing for the Blackhawk’s, and after his death studies found that he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalophy (CTE), a condition known to be caused by concussions.
Following Montador’s untimely death, former teammate and close friend Dan Carcillo channeled his pain by drawing public attention to the mental health issues that challenge players in the NHL. In an interview with the Player’s Tribune, he called upon the NHL to offer more support for retiring players, as well as pay greater attention to the risk of depression and other mental health issues that can accompany concussion.
Carcillo noted that Montador’s concussion-related depression had been exacerbated by the stress and uncertainty surrounding the end of his hockey career. Moved to find out what support the NHL provides for retiring players, Carcillo was unpleasantly surprised to find there was none. Given the physical and mental sacrifices made by players, he strongly believes that the NHL should offer significantly more support, for example a formalized exit program.
While the NHL cited their “BreakAway Program,” which is offered in conjunction with Toronto’s Ted Rogers School of Management, attention to the issue may be suffering due to more pressing problems. The NHL has been responding to a lawsuit initiated by former players who seek a financial settlement for the effects of brain injuries and concussions suffered during their careers.
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Daniel Carcillo makes impassioned plea for mental-health support in NHL | Chicago Sun Times