Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/07/13 at 04:01 PM ET
Former Chicago Blackhawks forward and Tampa Bay Lightning coach Steve Ludzik has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald reports that Ludzik, who's 52, believes that he's been a) battling the disease since he was about 40 and b) believes that concussions suffered during his NHL career directly contributed to his condition:
“They say they can’t prove it, and they can’t not prove it,” Ludzik said on Tuesday. “But it’s likely this is from damage to the head.”
Known as a scorer in junior, where he once scored 50 goals in 58 games, Ludzik evolved into a prototypical grinder in the NHL. He believes he suffered at least six concussions as a player, but concedes he will never know the real number because it was not something players of his era were warned to monitor.
Since his diagnosis, he has become an advocate of removing hitting from minor hockey, and not introducing it until players are 13 or 14 years old. (Hockey Canada voted in May to ban bodychecking through peewee hockey, when players are 12 years old.) He has also suggested players with a long history of concussion, including Sidney Crosby, should consider retirement.
“It’s great to have all this money, it’s great to have these beautiful surroundings,” he said. “But if you can’t enjoy it, you can’t live your life, what’s the sense?”
He has kept track of the growing library of stories about retired National Football League players coping with health issues they say are related to repeated head trauma tied to their time on the field. Thousands of former football players have engaged in legal action.
“You’ve seen it in football, and you’re going to see it in hockey,” Ludzik said. “You’re going to see guys having trouble with that.”
Continued with news about Ludzik's charitable endeavors...
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