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Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer

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Old
12-06-2011, 06:49 PM
  #76
SpinTheBlackCircle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drop The Mits View Post
If you're not good enough, and the coach asks you to fight to stay on the team, maybe hockey's not cut out for you... drop down a level and you dont have to fight to stay on the team... simple as that. OR you can fight your way onto the team because you know the risks, and are willing to take it for the big paycheck.
Or, don't have 14 year olds get into 20 fights in 6 months?

Adults know the deal. A 14 year old doesn't.

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12-06-2011, 06:50 PM
  #77
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Great series. Have not viewed any of the video but enjoyed the text.

There are going to be a lot more former athletes yelling at people on streetcorners and having other difficulties getting along in years to come.

Have a feeling the shots absorbed in adolescence may have more to to do with developing CTE than the ones taken as an adult. Can foresee huge nubers of former football players afflicted. Guys in their 40s now who started taking repeated helmet to helmet impacts when they were ten years old and did so for a decade or so?

In hockey terms it may be the Philadelphia Flyers pigeons from the mid-70s coming home to roost.

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12-06-2011, 06:52 PM
  #78
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Originally Posted by GentlemanOfLeisure View Post
The problem was Boogaard was 300 lbs. Enforcers back in the good old days were never that big. Maybe 240 at the most (Kordic, Caufield)

Bigger men = bigger punches = more head trama.
Ted Lindsey was 163.

The Toughest Man in Hockey, John Ferguson was 180. Sidney Crosby is bigger than he was.

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12-06-2011, 07:01 PM
  #79
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CTE research is ridiculously early in its lifespan. They basically know what the physical condition is and little else.

They believe it is linked to brain trauma, but there have not been enough control groups to know this. Without control groups, all you have is a trend rather than actual conclusions.

They believe it causes behavioral changes, but they have no way of proving this without a way to measure the condition in progress. For all we know, people who are in complete control of their mental and physical abilities could have CTE. They haven't been studied, so we have no idea.

The research is very, very interesting, but it's disingenuous of the scientists to say they can draw any conclusions about how it might have impacted Boogaard now or in the future. All they can say is he had a physical change in his brain that might be related to repeated brain trauma.

The most damning part of the article to me was the prescription drug issues with both the Wild and the Rangers, neither of whom seemed to have great coordination with their team doctors.

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12-06-2011, 07:01 PM
  #80
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CTE research is ridiculously early in its lifespan. They basically know what the physical condition is and little else.

They believe it is linked to brain trauma, but there have not been enough control groups to know this. Without control groups, all you have is a trend rather than actual conclusions.

They believe it causes behavioral changes, but they have no way of proving this without a way to measure the condition in progress. For all we know, people who are in complete control of their mental and physical abilities could have CTE. They haven't been studied, so we have no idea.

The research is very, very interesting, but it's disingenuous of the scientists to say they can draw any conclusions about how it might have impacted Boogaard now or in the future. All they can say is he had a physical change in his brain that might be related to repeated brain trauma.

The most damning part of the article to me was the prescription drug issues with both the Wild and the Rangers, neither of whom seemed to have great coordination with their team doctors.

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12-06-2011, 07:09 PM
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinTheBlackCircle View Post
Or, don't have 14 year olds get into 20 fights in 6 months?

Adults know the deal. A 14 year old doesn't.
What league allows 14 year olds to fight?

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12-06-2011, 07:17 PM
  #82
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Yeah, I was kinda disappointing the NY Times tried to spin this whole thing CTE issue. Bettman sounded a little too dismissive but he was right.

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12-06-2011, 07:20 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by WorkingOvertime View Post
What league allows 14 year olds to fight?
I was exaggerating to the post about a paycheck.

I have zero issue with professional hockey fights. I like them. Good stuff. Keep it in the game. I don't like juniors fighting.

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12-06-2011, 07:22 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by SpinTheBlackCircle View Post
So it's ok to tell 14 year olds, "You gotta fight or you won't play?"

How about no fighting until you turn pro? Give the kids brain a chance to not get bashed around until they are grown.
I would agree that a lot of leagues shouldn't allow you to fight until you reach a certain age, but in younger leagues a lot of fighting is either done in scrums or practice.

I think it's more a culture thing than a legislative issue.

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12-06-2011, 07:59 PM
  #85
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The technical details do not matter. Due to this New York Times series, as of right now a lawyer can convince a jury that the league (or the team) was aware of the consequences and therefore negligent for allowing fighting. This is a workplace safety issue. They are knowingly putting their employees at risk. Right or wrong, fighting will be banned very soon because, if it isn't, the lawsuits are going to be overwhelming (and successful).

Also nobody who allows fighting is going to be able to get insurance.

Likewise, it's completely over for boxing.

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12-06-2011, 08:50 PM
  #86
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Likewise, it's completely over for boxing.
It's called signing a full release

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12-06-2011, 08:51 PM
  #87
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what do u do as a parent when the scouts tell you the only chance your child has in playing in the Juniors or even the NHL is to start fighting as a 14 year old?

That was really deep..... Much respect to the Boogeyman RIP. I wish he could have kicked the **** out of the Vityaz Chekhov goons

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12-06-2011, 08:58 PM
  #88
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Originally Posted by ed bruin View Post
what do u do as a parent when the scouts tell you the only chance your child has in playing in the Juniors or even the NHL is to start fighting as a 14 year old?
For me the answer is if my kid's not smart enough, then sign him up for trade school to become an electrician or mechanic or something to get him through life with an honest day's work instead of betting everything on a pipe dream and risking his health at all cost

Oh and another thing about this story, I can't believe those oxy poppers go for $60 a pill on the street!! I mean WTF, you see drugs on TV shows where crackheads pay 10, 20 bucks for a dime bag, but holy **** 60 bucks a pill? And Boogaard was downing 8 at a time? No wonder this country is getting so messed up, kids are hooked on prescription pills worse that the other generations were hooked on coke and heroin

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12-06-2011, 09:37 PM
  #89
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For me the answer is if my kid's not smart enough, then sign him up for trade school to become an electrician or mechanic or something to get him through life with an honest day's work instead of betting everything on a pipe dream and risking his health at all cost

Oh and another thing about this story, I can't believe those oxy poppers go for $60 a pill on the street!! I mean WTF, you see drugs on TV shows where crackheads pay 10, 20 bucks for a dime bag, but holy **** 60 bucks a pill? And Boogaard was downing 8 at a time? No wonder this country is getting so messed up, kids are hooked on prescription pills worse that the other generations were hooked on coke and heroin
People use crack cause it's cheap. 8 pills at a time is extreme, but there are plenty of students who regularly pay $40/pill to abuse ADHD medication.

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12-06-2011, 10:13 PM
  #90
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Originally Posted by ed bruin View Post
what do u do as a parent when the scouts tell you the only chance your child has in playing in the Juniors or even the NHL is to start fighting as a 14 year old?

I tell them that they are done with perusing hockey as a career or a way to college. I'd let the play on their high school team if they were good enough to make it.

This should be an easy decision for any parent.

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12-06-2011, 10:38 PM
  #91
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20 bucks for a dime bag
what a deal!

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12-06-2011, 11:49 PM
  #92
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Just really tragic. Certainly forces a personal reconsideration of my feelings on hockey fights.

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12-07-2011, 12:24 AM
  #93
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Originally Posted by Papaspud View Post
Miners get black lung
Crab fishermen get all sorts of injuries, and occasionally fall overboard and die.
Firemen/women die in all sorts of ways.
Policemen/women get shot, as do Military personal.
Stunt people cripple themselves almost daily, for "entertainment".


All for a ******** less money than any enforcer in the NHL.
Ask anyone doing a dangerous job, if they would accept the risk of possible brain damage, for close to a million dollars a year, and all of a sudden the very same risk of injury becomes acceptable to many more people.
Jobs available in your local "bomb squad" starting pay $54,000.
Fact is - once the risks involved in all these jobs are well documented, they take measures to lower the risk and, sometimes, remove parts that are too risky. Firemen are not supposed to enter a burning building about to collapse, a fighter pilot is supposed to eject when the plane is about to crush, policemen are supposed to call for backup. Risks are minimized and only taken when no better option is available.

Imagine a policemen that asks for support before entering a dangerous building and gets answered : "go in there by yourself, you knew what you signed for".

Fighting brings too little to the sport of hockey to be worth taking all these risks. Fighting in boxing/MMA "is" the sport so risks are probably worth taking.

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12-07-2011, 01:09 AM
  #94
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Wait repeatedly taking haymakers to the head from bare knuckled 230+ pound meatheads can give you serious brain damage? Wow who the **** would have thought. And here I was under the impression than your brain is completely invincible and you can headbutt your way out of anything.

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12-07-2011, 01:19 AM
  #95
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Jesus some people in this thread

Really moving series. It's really interesting to see it all from the enforcer's perspective; the enforcers, the family, the friends, the doctors. Everything that gets affected in a player's life by trying to make it in the big league. I know it might seem obvious, but this is a sport that takes great pride in its traditions and is an emotional investment. Articles like this are a good way to step back from the sport and realize these guys aren't just millionaires who are here to entertain, they're people too.

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12-07-2011, 01:24 AM
  #96
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Very sad, but also very eye-opening. We often forget that these men have families, and this is the way they support them. While, I don't think all fighting should be taken out, there should be precautions and safety measures. I also think that the substance abuse and mental health help is something that really needs to be looked at. I hope his story sheds some light onto these issues, and can help improve the lives of the players.

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12-07-2011, 01:31 AM
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471 View Post
CTE research is ridiculously early in its lifespan. They basically know what the physical condition is and little else.

They believe it is linked to brain trauma, but there have not been enough control groups to know this. Without control groups, all you have is a trend rather than actual conclusions.

They believe it causes behavioral changes, but they have no way of proving this without a way to measure the condition in progress. For all we know, people who are in complete control of their mental and physical abilities could have CTE. They haven't been studied, so we have no idea.

The research is very, very interesting, but it's disingenuous of the scientists to say they can draw any conclusions about how it might have impacted Boogaard now or in the future. All they can say is he had a physical change in his brain that might be related to repeated brain trauma.

The most damning part of the article to me was the prescription drug issues with both the Wild and the Rangers, neither of whom seemed to have great coordination with their team doctors.
Ill repost this from another thread...

I am truly ambivalent about this....I am a neuroscientist and a hockey player...and I love the fighting. It is an important, strategic aspect of the game (look at Sbitz fight in the Wild/Ducks game last night--completely changed the momentum of the game-- and the wild won), and lets be honest--its really fun to watch. I miss the days in college hockey when there was fighting.

But it is absolutely true that you are "trading money for brain cells" when you are an enforcer in the nhl. Enforcers are bigger and stronger than they have ever been and most train to box. When you are dazed after hitting your head that is caused by brain damage. Its just a fact.

I don't mean to belabor the point but I work with patients that have sustained focal brain damage -- the finding that repeated blows to the head causes brain damage and that brain damage leads to depression, addiction, and personality changes is as strong as any finding in science. Yes, it is early, and yes some people are more susceptible than others to CTE (and we really don't understand why) but the link between fighting, brain damage, and behavioral changes is not up for debate. (During a blow to the head, the brain actually is whacked against the skull and this damages the brain) (There is a study out there that has found that people who head-bang repeatably at concerts--actually can have mild concussions and cognitive impairment).

It seems to me fighting in hockey is very similar to steroids in baseball. Having baseball players on steroids was a great money maker for MLB and fans loved the home run chases. MLB just looked the other way while the players needed to participate to complete. Yes, you didn't need to dope up. But you where left behind if you didn't. That's not protecting players.

Having enforcers fight is a great money maker for the NHL--and we love the fights. (There is the tradition aspect to this as well). Yes you don't need to fight. But if you need to fight to make the NHL, you may get left behind if you don't. And once you become an enforcer, you need to play your role--otherwise you will be let go. We know repeated blows to the head causes brain damage--although the NHL might not admit it. They are not protecting their players.

Some day in the future the evidence will be too overwhelming. I for one will be in favor of the ban....but super reluctantly....it will diminish the sport.

Its just hard to admit to oneself that some of the money that goes toward your ticket is causing irreparable brain damage to some young kid.

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12-07-2011, 04:10 PM
  #98
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causation and correlation

I will say that I am pro-fighting and a scientist but I am really really disappointed about how much credit this NYT piece has gotten.

No one doubts that repeated blows to the head are to be avoided, but I do not understand how people come to the conclusion that this is specifically fighting related on a sample size of 4 ( one of whom was not a fighter). I don't know if this was misrepresented in the article but it also appears that the person who diagnosed the CTE knew beforehand that the brain came from a hockey player. I've seen the stain they are using, why are they not scoring these blind ?

I've seen lots of biomedical experiments point to something really interesting that ultimately ends up being nothing which is why you don't publish preliminary results and why these associations take time to prove because there are lots of alternate explanations that need to be discounted. As of right now I think the best we can say is that fighting might contribute to CTE in some people by mechanisms we completely do not yet completely understand. But from the comments at the NYT it seems that a lot of people seem to think that the association is not only demonstrable but that it is causative. This is, in my opinion, not only wrong but dangerous as well.

Boogaard's death was tragic enough, using it to set policy would compound the tragedy.

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12-07-2011, 04:35 PM
  #99
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12-07-2011, 04:44 PM
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frozenriverrat77 View Post
Ill repost this from another thread...

I am truly ambivalent about this....I am a neuroscientist and a hockey player...and I love the fighting. It is an important, strategic aspect of the game (look at Sbitz fight in the Wild/Ducks game last night--completely changed the momentum of the game-- and the wild won), and lets be honest--its really fun to watch. I miss the days in college hockey when there was fighting.

But it is absolutely true that you are "trading money for brain cells" when you are an enforcer in the nhl. Enforcers are bigger and stronger than they have ever been and most train to box. When you are dazed after hitting your head that is caused by brain damage. Its just a fact.

I don't mean to belabor the point but I work with patients that have sustained focal brain damage -- the finding that repeated blows to the head causes brain damage and that brain damage leads to depression, addiction, and personality changes is as strong as any finding in science. Yes, it is early, and yes some people are more susceptible than others to CTE (and we really don't understand why) but the link between fighting, brain damage, and behavioral changes is not up for debate. (During a blow to the head, the brain actually is whacked against the skull and this damages the brain) (There is a study out there that has found that people who head-bang repeatably at concerts--actually can have mild concussions and cognitive impairment).

It seems to me fighting in hockey is very similar to steroids in baseball. Having baseball players on steroids was a great money maker for MLB and fans loved the home run chases. MLB just looked the other way while the players needed to participate to complete. Yes, you didn't need to dope up. But you where left behind if you didn't. That's not protecting players.

Having enforcers fight is a great money maker for the NHL--and we love the fights. (There is the tradition aspect to this as well). Yes you don't need to fight. But if you need to fight to make the NHL, you may get left behind if you don't. And once you become an enforcer, you need to play your role--otherwise you will be let go. We know repeated blows to the head causes brain damage--although the NHL might not admit it. They are not protecting their players.

Some day in the future the evidence will be too overwhelming. I for one will be in favor of the ban....but super reluctantly....it will diminish the sport.

Its just hard to admit to oneself that some of the money that goes toward your ticket is causing irreparable brain damage to some young kid.
Great post, thanks for that. Especially this:

Quote:
the finding that repeated blows to the head causes brain damage and that brain damage leads to depression, addiction, and personality changes is as strong as any finding in science
As far as I am concerned the whole CTE issue is a potentially disturbing revelation that has yet to be widely acknowledged as a fact. You can say there's no proof that it's linked to fighting and that's fine.

But anyone who thinks that there is no link between repeated head injuries (whether they are reported or not) and all sorts of mental health issues is sadly mistaken.

The fact is that these people often pay an enormous price to be a part of major junior and eventuall professional hockey and as a fan that diminishes my enjoyment of fighting in general. Yes these people made their choice but generally they made that choice as minors and anyway I don't see why their choice means I can't have any qualms about the end result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandysan View Post
I will say that I am pro-fighting and a scientist but I am really really disappointed about how much credit this NYT piece has gotten..
Whatever problems you have with the methodology of the researchers (or of the NYT reporting of their findings) the series on Boogaard's life and death has been compelling reading even ignoring CTE entirely. Everyone who reads it does not immediately accept every premise of the articles as fact.

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