By Jack Ryan
This may come as a shock to Flyers great Eric Lindros (above), who suffered four concussions that ultimately led to the end of his career, but:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has once again maintained that there is not enough data yet to draw conclusions about the link between sports-related concussions and long-term brain degeneration.
This came in a 24-page letter Bettman wrote to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal that was posted on The New York Times’ website last night, answering a series of questions put to him by the Connecticut Democrat on the NHL’s stance on concussions and the brain disease chronic traumatic encephelopathy (CTE).
“[T]he science regarding CTE, including on the asserted ‘link’ to concussions … remains nascent, particularly with respect to what causes CTE and whether it can be diagnosed by specific clinical symptoms,” Bettman wrote in the letter to Blumenthal.
Bettman said the NHL and the players’ association’s medical advisory consultants will continue to closely monitor the ongoing research into brain damage, but he emphatically argued that the research to this point has established no “causal link between CTE and concussions in team sports generally, much less in NHL hockey.”
“If that [medical] consensus changes, so, too, will my answers,” he added.
The NHL is currently facing a class-action lawsuit filed by 105 former NHL players who allege it had the resources to better prevent head trauma, failed to properly warn players of such risks and promoted violent play that led to their injuries.