Hockey Icon Henri Richard, Winner of 11 Stanley Cups, Diagnosed with CTE Post-Mortem
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Henri Richard, the Hockey Hall of Fame luminary, had stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at his passing in March 2020, disclosed the family of the renowned Montreal Canadiens player on Wednesday.
“By sharing my father’s diagnosis and donating his brain, I hope we can spur more preventative measures, research, and eventually a cure for CTE,” Denis Richard, Henri’s son, stated in a release from the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “I want it to be clear that this disease affects athletes beyond just football.”
The Alzheimer’s Association characterizes CTE as “a progressive and lethal brain disease linked to recurring traumatic brain injuries.”
Richard, who secured a record-breaking 11 Stanley Cups in the NHL, passed away at 84, grappling with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Foundation’s media release, 16 out of 17 studied NHL players have been diagnosed with CTE, a list that includes Steve Montador, Ralph Backstrom, Bob Probert, and Stan Mikita.
Richard bid farewell to his professional career in 1975, four years before the NHL made wearing helmets compulsory.
Ken Dryden, Richard’s former teammate from Montreal and fellow Hall of Famer, has been urging the National Hockey League and other hockey organizations to enforce severe penalties for head hits, citing the lasting damage they inflict.
“I shared the rink with Henri. We clinched two Cups side by side. He didn’t conform to any of the simplistic stereotypes, he ticked none of the expected boxes,” said Dryden in a statement. “Playing in an era known for its old-school hockey and fights? That wasn’t Henri. A heavy hitter? Not Henri. Like Stan Mikita and Ralph Backstrom, he was a fantastic skater, physically adept but his gameplay was guided by a playmaker’s mentality. Despite this, he endured numerous hits to the head. We must acknowledge that no matter the sport, a hit to the head is detrimental.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Henri Richard CTE diagnosis
When did Henri Richard pass away and what was his health condition?
Henri Richard passed away in March 2020 at the age of 84. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time of his death, and was posthumously diagnosed with stage 3 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, is described as a progressive and fatal brain disease that is associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
How many Stanley Cups did Henri Richard win in his career?
Henri Richard won a record-breaking 11 Stanley Cups during his professional hockey career in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Who are some other NHL players who have been diagnosed with CTE?
Apart from Henri Richard, other NHL players diagnosed with CTE include Steve Montador, Ralph Backstrom, Bob Probert, and Stan Mikita.
What is Ken Dryden’s stance on head hits in hockey?
Ken Dryden, Henri Richard’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, has been advocating for severe penalties for all hits to the head in hockey, highlighting the long term damages they can cause.