What does the NHL/NHLPA need to do to help guys off the ice?
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09-01-2011, 11:29 AM
I love GoOoOlD
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Campbell, NY
It's a double combination. You have guys who's careers are ending just as the psychological stigma of mid-life crisis occurs. Doesn't help that there is the complications of drugs, alcohol, fame, the terror of fighting.
If I had a say in this, if leagues and players associations listened to fans, here's what I would do.
A phasing approach to the change of career. When players reach a certain age or they are leaving the profession a commitee of peers and experts who guide them. Help them focus their lives into understanding that their lives aren't ending but they are at their peak. This is not something you want to do JUST as the change in life occurs but before.
Retirement is lonely. A commitee of veterans/retired players can be formed to provide social help, to be there to act as the crutch when the demon of depression strikes. And it does strike quick, I know. You must find a way to never let these guys to be or feel alone.
Counseling on a three prong approach:
Financial: Like Tyson Nash says, these guys are young and they are taken advantaged of. Much like with other professions, these players need a stable financial foundation to reduce the stress of the loss. If their is a lacking in their financials this is opportunity to fix this while the player still has time to save.
social: When you are a part of a team you have a family, you have a reason to be. They adopt these teams as their own. Think about it, one year you love a teammate enough to take 10-15 punches in the face, next year you have to cave their face in because of FA or a trade. Doesn't that sound sociopathic?
Medical: Individual counseling. Drug counseling, group therapy (Which may look more like a HOF reunion but still....) Not just at the end of the career but through their career. Create a solid foundation to reduce stress at the end of the career.
Veterans/retired players need to take a proactive approach. As soon as a player is done they take them under their wing and help them gather themselves and show them their world is not over. Help them with the grief. It's all about knowing they are not alone.
I was listening to TSN radio all last night. With my 15 year fight with depression all I was hearing is checkmarks on symptoms; Selflessness to the point of damn near sainthood, self-deprication, grim humor, etc.
All I heard was a man who valued others highly because he didn't have a high opinion of himself. He was selfless to his teammates because he saw they had more value that he had. How do I know this. I've been there and hell I'm there myself. The psychological term is 'dependance'.
Forgive the rambling, it's been a crappy 24 hrs.
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