Former pro hockey player blasts the NHL’s handling of brain injuries
Throughout his nine seasons in the NHL, Daniel Carcillo was known as an enforcer – the guy most likely to start a fight or brutally crash into other players. His rough play style even helped lead him to two Stanley Cups. But, these days, he says he would give it all up if he had the chance.
“The quality of life that repetitive traumatic brain injuries rob from you, I would give back all of my money, I would give back all the time,” Carcillo says. “You can take my name off the Stanley Cup twice over. I can’t live like that anymore. I just can’t.”
In a stirring video from The Players’ Tribune, Carcillo explains how traumatic brain injury still plagues him, nearly three years after he retired. While Carcillo is receiving treatment for his repetitive brain trauma, he says the NHL and NHLPA continue to lie to players about head injuries.
“I don't want somebody else to be in this position, you know?
You have a lot more years to live after professional sports.”
— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 13, 2018
“It’s (expletive) scary. I’d be scared if I was still playing in the NHL. If I was Sidney Crosby. If I was any one of those young kids.”
Carcillo says the NHL consistently withheld information about repetitive brain trauma from him and other players throughout his career, referencing his friend and former pro hockey player Steve Montador.
Montador was diagnosed with CTE after he was found dead in his home in 2015.
More than anything, Carcillo says he wants the league to step up and be held accountable for their handling of TBI.
“The truth. Tell the (expletive) truth,” he says of the NHL. “The people who are running the NHL and NHLPA right now need to step up.”
Additionally, Carcillo suggests the NHL could build a brain plasticity center specifically to help injured players to recover.
“There’s no way that an athletic therapist or orthopedic surgeon should be touching our heads,” he says. “They cannot properly diagnose a traumatic brain injury.”
Although Carcillo says he would trade his career to undo the effects of TBI, he still says the sport has a special place in his heart.
“I don’t love the NHL. I love the game of hockey.”