Bob Proberst: Late NHL player suffered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is hockey to blame?

bob-probert-gi.jpgHockey players are already famous for missing teeth and short tempers, but could brain damage be next?

Many find it hard to believe that men engaged in a sport of that nature could not be brain damaged, what with all the fighting and high impact collisions, but the repercussions could be even worse than we though.

Bob Probert tragically passed away in July at the age of 45 after making a name for himself in the NHL as an enforcer. He drank, he fought and he racked up the penalty minutes -- 3,300 of them to be exact. Just the type of player most hockey fans like to see.

Following his death, his brain was donated to science. According to the New York Times, Probert wanted to "advance the research" behind brain injuries in hockey players.

Boston University researchers announced on Thursday (Mar. 3) that the Canadian native suffered from a degenerative brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Probert is just the second player to be diagnosed with the disease post mortem, as NHL vet Reggie Fleming also suffered from CTE along with several boxers and football players.

In light of this discovery, the Boston University Medical School is teaming up with the Sports Legacy institute in an attempt to raise awareness of a current "concussion crisis" in sports.

Pittsburgh Penguins golden boy Sidney Crosby has been forced to sit out of the past 24 games following a severe concussion. It remains unknown when he will be able to return to the ice and what sort of repercussions will result from the injury.

Ironically it was not the brain damage that led to Probert's untimely death, but hearth failure. Though his widow Dani ultimately blames the sport.

"In my heart of hearts, I don't believe fighting is what did this to Bob," she says. "It was hockey -- all the checking and hits, things like that." 
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