Concussions strike again… Derek Boogaard’s brain donated to science

28-year-old Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers and formerly of the Minnesota Wild was found dead Friday, May 13, 2011, in his apartment. The cause of death is not yet known. He died while recovering from a concussion. A native Canadian, Boogaard was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He missed most of the last season because of a concussion and shoulder injury from a fight. He was an “enforcer”. He suffered from 3 concussions during his career. The last game he played was December 9, 2010, against the Ottawa Senators where he got into a fight with Matt Carkner and sustained his last concussion and shoulder injury. It was the 70th fight of his NHL career. He had to sit out for the last 52 games of the regular NHL season because of his injuries and was unable to participate in the NHL playoffs. He was known a big, tough and intimidating player, but a lovable guy and gentle giant who teammates adored. He was 6 feet 7 inches, 265 pounds. His family authorized Boston University researchers to examine his brain for signs of damage. His brain was donated to the Boston University Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The study at Boston University has conducted tests on retired NFL and NHL players. Donated brains have included NHL’s Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert. Both were found to have been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple hits to the head (repetitive brain trauma), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. (source: Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy). It will take weeks or months to determine exactly what happened to Derek Boogaard and to determine if he was suffering from CTE.

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