Tag Archives: abuse

Treatment Center Ties Addiction to Pain Meds to Sports Concussions

A drug abuse treatment center is using the ongoing wrongful death litigation involving Derek Boogaard as an opportunity to highlight the danger of former athletes, who suffered concussions, abusing pain medication

The California facility, Passages Malibu, suggests there are better ways for these former athletes to manage pain, rather than prescription drugs.

“After spending six seasons in the NHL, Derek Boogaard earned a reputation for being one of the toughest professional hockey players in the league,” notes the company. “When he died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2011, Boogaard showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain ailment caused by repeated blows to the head, as well as a high level of alcohol in his blood.

“At 6’7”, 270 pounds, Derek Boogaard was a fighter/enforcer, (who) … fought 66 total times on the ice.”

His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NHL, alleging that the league failed to keep Boogaard “reasonably safe” and to “refrain from causing addiction to controlled substances.” Among the substances that Boogaard allegedly struggled with were Oxycontin and Ambien.

Boogaard received 40 prescriptions from the Minnesota Wild medical staff for pain medication during the 2008-2009 hockey season; more than 1,200 painkillers, according to the company. At the time of his overdose, Boogaard was recovering from a concussion, one of dozens he is believed that have sustained during his professional hockey career. Boogaard is also believed to have been administered Toradol, a powerful masking agent from pain, in the final two years of his career.

”Professional athletes compete at a level where they need to be aware of the dangers they face for the sake of their health and career,” said Pax Prentiss, CEO of Passages Addiction Treatment Center. “Addiction to prescription medication has steadily become one of the biggest health risks for people. Time and again, it seems that the perception among people is that if a doctor prescribes something, it is automatically safe.”

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Is an Attitude Adjustment in Order for the Coaching Profession?

(The following was written by Bill Newton, a parent of former high school athletes and long-time contributor to Hackney Publications. The complete article, which examines current examples of such coaching conduct, will appear in the October issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter) 

No, the game of football is not going away, even though there are some out there that speculate that. 

Some coaches may be going away though, along with some assistants. And some universities and school districts may find their wallets substantially lighter and their hunt to secure general liability insurance more difficult to obtain, and certainly more expensive, after they get slapped around in the courtroom. But football? It’s as guaranteed as hot dogs on the 4th of July. 

If you’ve ever read The Junction Boys, Paul “Bear” Bryant’s venture intoWest Texas to toughen up his players, you were probably aghast at what went on. Sunup to sundown practices. No water. Brutal conditions. Only thirty or so players survived the ordeal. 

One can only imagine an assistant coach dealing with Bryant about a concussed player back then in 1954. It’s doubtful that any sympathy was extended. If the kid could stand up, count to ten, and knew his last name, he was probably told to get his butt back out there and stop complaining. Abuse was a 5-letter word that was apparently in nobody’s vocabulary. 

But now, it’s 2012 and the NFL concussion issue continues to make headlines. What’s also entered the limelight is football at the college, high school, and youth levels. This crisis, sparked by a flurry of lawsuits is now a full-fledged burn, eating up the countryside and spreading from one sport to another—involving boys and girls alike. 

Addressing the subject of concussions seems to largely be focused on: properly diagnosing a concussion, removing a player from play, allowing for proper healing time, and obtaining writer permission from the proper medical authority to re-enter the game. Many of the recently enacted state concussion laws are written along these guidelines, with the added caveat of educating coaches and parents in how to deal with this type of head trauma. Preventing concussions though appears to get more lip service than coming up with solutions that will truly make a difference. 

So, since the game’s not going away, what is the solution? 

What appears lacking is any discussion on today’s coaching “mindset.” 

Ask yourself this. Regardless of what level, what kind of coach does your son or daughter play for? Is he a teacher or a tyrant? Teaching involves improving mental and physical skills in a learning atmosphere with the quest for perfection. It requires finesse and knowledge of the skills. Tyranny, on the hand, is intimidation. It’s pushing, yelling, and demanding without justification. It browbeats and dehumanizes. It doesn’t make men. It grows mean, nasty players without any regard for sportsmanship—something that’s supposed to be embodied in all sports…

(The full story appears in the October issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter.)


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