Light sensitivity, disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings, and many other symptoms are common, but it is difficult for others to understand how impactful these really are and opening about your struggle with these symptoms can be difficult.
Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo has bravely shared his some of his recovery efforts. All politics aside, his words relay just how severely his injuries have affected his life:
“I’m getting personal treatment for the head traumas that I sustained while playing in the NHL. I needed to come here [for treatment] because my speech was being slurred. Every month or every week, every day that went by, the sun hurt my eyes more and more. I was having headaches, problems sleeping, more mood swings, depression, anxiety. Flip a coin the night before I went to bed, and I wouldn’t know how I’d wake up the next morning.
It’s not an easy proposition for a man with pride and ego to come here and assess the state of my brain, especially with a three-and-a-half-year-old son, a year-old daughter and another daughter on the way. The quality of life that repetitive traumatic brain injuries rob from you is…. I would give back all my money, I would give back all the time. You can take my name off the Stanley Cup twice over. I can’t live like that anymore. You know, I just can’t.
Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, you’re 80% more likely to contract those three diseases if you have three or more concussions. That’s scary.
I’d be scared if I was still playing in the NHL, if I was Sidney Crosby, if I was any one of those young kids. I wish that I had been given the information that was withheld from me while I played in the NHL. And I can’t lay my head on the bed when I see injustice and I see people being treated in the same manner as my friend, Steve Montador, had been treated.
I’m the type of person that when I see injustice I need to act, and I need to hold people accountable.
Tell the truth. The people who are running the NHL and the NHLPA right now need to step up and take care of the best athletes in the world, the best hockey players in the world. Build a Brain Plasticity Center, and if an NHL player gets hurt, then send him there. You’ll get a better athlete back. You’ll have less man-games lost, and everybody wins.
There’s no way that an athletic therapist or an orthopedic surgeon should be touching our heads. In my experience, they cannot properly diagnose a traumatic brain injury, and they cannot properly build you a program accordingly to make new neurological pathways around those dead neurons. This is how you treat it.
And hopefully this [treatment] can circumvent early-onset dementia, early-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease. The stats aren’t flattering. The research isn’t flattering. But I think if you have hope, and you do the work, that you can stave that off. I really … I believe that. I don’t want somebody else to be in this position, you know? You have a lot more years to live after professional sports.
I’m starting to feel like myself again, and my personality’s coming back. I’m able to sleep. My sensitivity to light has vanished.
Yeah, I fought…. And yes, I gave out many traumatic brain injuries. I also sustained many. My son is three-and-a-half years old right now. He’ll see my fight videos on YouTube, but he’ll also see these Players’ Tribune videos, and hopefully that will educate him in the risks of the job that I did. No, I don’t love the NHL. I love the game of hockey.”
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