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Ex-NHL Tough Guy Proves That Brain Trauma Crisis Goes Far Beyond the NFL

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(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Former Washington Capitals player Stephen Peat was the team’s enforcer—basically, the guy whose job it is to intimidate the other team through mere presence or brute force on the ice. Peat spoke to The New York Times‘ John Branch about the painful symptoms of a life after hockey—ones typically associated with the head trauma–related brain disease ex-NFL players have been suffering from of late. “The symptoms often associated with C.T.E.—memory loss, depression, impulsiveness, addiction, headaches—are part of Stephen Peat’s daily life,” writes Branch. Peat goes on to question his career and the value of today’s hockey enforcer:

“‘Hockey’s been the greatest thing in my life, but it’s also been the worst thing in my life,’ Peat said. ‘It was great while I was playing, but what has it done lately? My peers of enforcers have become statistics and the N.H.L. is in denial. They’re denying that the job I did even existed, even though I sacrificed my quality of life, my well-being and my future greatly by being there for my teammates in the present.”

Read Branch’s full story here.