We now know that hockey player Derek Boogaard’s recent mysterious death at 28 was caused by a fatal mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone. As soon as Boogaard died, his family donated his brain to the chronic traumatic encephalopathy research group in Boston, led by Dr. Robert Cantu and spearheaded by Harvard alum and retired World Wrestling Entertainment performer Chris Nowinski. The Boogaard tragedy followed close on the heels of the Boston group’s announcement that 50-year-old ex-football star Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in February, had CTE.
A cluster of recent sports suicides highlights the American concussion crisis, of course. But it also raises another tough question: After years of being asleep at the switch on the scope and magnitude of industrial brain injuries in our couch-potato entertainment, are the sports establishment and media now contributing to a feeding frenzy that is actually causing additional deaths rather than preventing them?
CONTINUED TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ONLINE NEWSPAPER: