Henri Richard, a legendary figure in the history of the Montreal Canadiens and an 11-time Stanley Cup champion, has been posthumously diagnosed with stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to an announcement made by his family. The news was revealed on Wednesday and aims to raise awareness about the impact of this disease on athletes beyond football.
Denis Richard, Henri Richard’s son, expressed his hope that the brain donation and diagnosis of his father would contribute to increased efforts in prevention, research, and the development of treatments for CTE. In a statement released by the Concussion Legacy Foundation, he emphasized the need for people to understand that CTE is a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries, extending beyond the realm of football.
Henri Richard, who holds the NHL record for winning 11 Stanley Cups, passed away at the age of 84 in March 2020 while battling Alzheimer’s disease. A press release from the foundation revealed that out of the 17 NHL players studied, 16 have been diagnosed with CTE, including notable names like Steve Montador, Ralph Backstrom, Bob Probert, and Stan Mikita.
It is worth noting that Richard retired from professional hockey in 1975, and it was only in 1979 that helmets became mandatory in the NHL.
Ken Dryden, a former teammate of Richard’s in Montreal and a fellow Hockey Hall of Famer, has been advocating for strict penalties on hits to the head in the National Hockey League and other levels of the sport. Dryden emphasized that regardless of the sport, hits to the head are detrimental in the long term, highlighting the importance of recognizing the dangers they pose.
“I played with Henri. We won two Cups together. He defied all the stereotypes and did not fit into any of the usual categories,” Dryden stated. “Despite playing during a different era known for physicality and fights, Henri was not a player who engaged in those aspects. He was an exceptional skater and possessed a playmaker’s mind, which defined his style of play. However, the cumulative effect of all those hits to the head cannot be ignored. We must acknowledge that a hit to the head is never a good thing, regardless of the sport.”
In memory of Henri Richard and the numerous athletes affected by CTE, it is crucial to raise awareness, conduct further research, and prioritize the prevention and treatment of this debilitating condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about CTE
What is CTE?
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries.
Who was Henri Richard?
Henri Richard was a legendary hockey player and a member of the Montreal Canadiens. He won an NHL-record 11 Stanley Cups during his career.
When was Henri Richard diagnosed with CTE?
Henri Richard was posthumously diagnosed with stage 3 CTE after his death in March 2020.
How does CTE affect athletes?
CTE can have severe impacts on athletes, leading to cognitive decline, memory loss, behavioral changes, and other neurological symptoms.
Are there other NHL players diagnosed with CTE?
Yes, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, 16 out of the 17 NHL players studied have been diagnosed with CTE, including players like Steve Montador, Ralph Backstrom, Bob Probert, and Stan Mikita.
What is being done to prevent CTE and protect athletes?
Efforts are being made to increase prevention measures, conduct research, and develop treatments for CTE. There are also calls for stricter penalties on hits to the head in hockey and other sports to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injuries.