On Thursday, Boston University researchers will release findings that show Mr. Probert had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when his heart gave out during a fishing trip last summer. The diagnosis makes him the second former professional hockey player to be found with the degenerative disease after Reggie Fleming, who died in 2009 at the age of 73 with dementia after three decades of worsening behavioural and cognitive problems.
Like Mr. Fleming, Mr. Probert was a fighter who banged his way through more than 200 fights during 16 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. He had suffered at least three concussions and struggled with substance abuse. And in his 40s, Ms. Probert said, her normally laid-back husband may have begun to show some of the telltale signs of CTE, such as odd bouts of road rage and memory gaps.
Bob Probert found himself, along with his wife, wanting to do something for this cause. A mere six months prior to his death, due to a heart attack, he committed himself to the legacy of brain research and the NHL. For reasons unknown the professional hockey player has not been as “convinced” to be part of the studies, nor talk about head injuries; this is probably best understood by the “tough guy” nature of the sport. His widow, Dani, is trying to effect a change by making this information public and attaching his name to the results.
“Having Bob’s name attached to that can show other athletes, and especially the hockey players, that they need to get involved.”Ms. Probert had other reasons, too, she said. They included the couple’s four children: three daughters and a son, now ages 10 to 16. They are all athletes and avid hockey, lacrosse and volleyball players.
In the article Dr. Robert Cantu made mention of the fact the Probert’s CTE was not as “severe” as other cases, especially those from boxing and American football. He later qualified this by saying that the CTE condition was present and for that it is remarkable.
It is good to finally see other sports beginning the steps to helping the world understand the long-term effects of multiple brain trauma and concussions. Thank you Bob Probert and family for sharing.
SOURCE The Globe and Mail