Chris Simons’ Death Brings Forward The Stark Reminder Of The NHLs Archaic Views On The Link Between Repetitive Head Trauma And CTE

Mar 20, 2024

RIP To Chris Simon, the pride of Wawa, Ontario, a team guy who everyone loved. It’s a sad day when anyone dies at the young age of 52. The hockey community has come forward with a ton of support.

Enter Dan Carcillo—an advocate for bringing to the forefront the link between repeated head trauma and CTE.

The NHL’s stance on the link between repetitive head trauma and neurodegenerative diseases has remained contentious, with the league consistently denying a direct correlation despite growing concerns and mounting evidence across sports medicine and scientific communities. The issue has gained significant attention, mainly as other major sports leagues like the NFL have acknowledged such a link and implemented measures to address player safety.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly is leading the NHL in its position. He has been vocal in asserting the league’s skepticism regarding the existing scientific consensus.

Daly contends that while the NHL takes player safety seriously and continues to invest in research and initiatives aimed at minimizing head injuries, conclusive evidence establishing a direct causal relationship between repetitive head trauma in hockey and neurodegenerative diseases like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is lacking.

The NHL has emphasized the advancements in equipment technology, rule changes, and player safety protocols implemented in recent years as evidence of their commitment to minimizing head injuries. These efforts include stricter enforcement of rules against hits to the head, enhanced concussion protocols, and improvements in helmet design aimed at reducing the risk of brain injury.

Former players and medical professionals continue to push for greater acknowledgment and action from the NHL. They argue that while the league’s efforts are commendable, a more proactive approach, including greater transparency, collaboration with researchers, and prioritization of player safety, is necessary to adequately address the potential long-term health risks associated with head trauma in hockey. As the debate persists, the NHL is under increasing pressure to confront the issue with greater urgency and transparency, especially as public awareness and concern continue to grow.

Contributing Writers

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