Report: Rangers’ Boogaard Had Degenerative Brain Ailment CTE

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition related to Alzheimer’s disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head, the New York Times reported.

The 28-year-old Boogaard, who died in May of an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone, was found to have had CTE — which can be diagnosed only after the death of the patient, according to the third story of an extensive three-part series on Boogaard posted on the newspaper’s website Monday night.

Dr. Ann McKee, one of four co-directors of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and the director of the center’s brain bank, saw signature brown spots near the outer surface of Boogaard’s brain, which are revealing signs of CTE.

Such damage in someone as young as Boogaard was surprising. Symptoms of the condition include memory loss, impulsiveness, mood swings, and addiction.

The Times reported that if Boogaard had lived, he would have likely slipped “into middle-age dementia.”

“To see this amount? That’s a ‘wow’ moment,” McKee said of the damage to Boogaard’s brain tissue. “This is all going bad.”

The disease was more advanced in Boogaard than it was in famed enforcer Bob Probert, who died of heart failure in 2010 at 45. He played 16 seasons in the NHL and often struggled with alcohol and drug addiction.

“His demeanor, his personality, it just left him,” former Minnesota Wild teammate John Scott told the paper. “He just was kind of — a blank face.”

Reggie Fleming, who was 73, and 59-year-old Rick Martin, were other hockey players who were found to have CTE.

Your thoughts on the Boogaard report? Let us know in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Tom

    This would probably be considered blasphemy for a lot of NHL fans, but I would recommend banning all fighting in the league. Begin with suspensions for any infractions and phase it out over a short time, maybe two seasons. College and Olympic hockey are great without fighting. This action is needed to reverse the “fight culture” and prevent debilitating injuries and deaths. Boogard’s death should be a huge wake-up call for the league.

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