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Former NHL player Steve Ludzik believes that concussions contributed to battle with Parkinson’s

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...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink



Pro sports = concussions. No way to avoid it.

Posted by SlimChance on 08/07/13 at 08:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t think Ludzik is doing anyone any favors spouting off like this.  Given that there are people with Parkinson’s that are quite unlikely to have ever suffered concussions, his claim is unlikely because there are obviously other triggers there.

“They say they can’t prove it, and they can’t not prove it,”

And that’s the argument of someone with no other argument on their side.

I’m sorry.  It drives me nuts seeing this sort of thing.  Concussions are real.  Parkinson’s is real.  You don’t need some dolt going around spouting off trying to link them with no evidence or knowledge of what he’s talking about.

He does a disservice to both issues in doing so and distracts from what should be happening.

Posted by Primis on 08/07/13 at 11:17 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

It’s certainly not hard science, but it’s hardly fair (let alone remotely empathetic) to call this “spouting off”.  Sounds like he touched a nerve, no pun intended. And by the way, this is miles apart from Lyle Alzado’s situation, hiding behind his not-so-secret lifestyle and the other illness he “acquired”, yet turning around and irresponsibly blaming steroids for his cancer in an effort to shirk responsibility and play the victim card.

One theme has become quite clear in recent years: there are numerous connections between loss of brain cells and the onset of dementia and other neurological ailments. A suggested correlation here doesn’t mean that someone’s Aunt or Uncle who has Parkinsons couldn’t have acquired it without ever having suffered a concussion.

Two seconds on Pubmed brought up this study, amongst many others.

Mov Disord. 2013 Apr 22. doi: 10.1002/mds.25458.

Head injury and risk of Parkinson disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Jafari S, Etminan M, Aminzadeh F, Samii A.

School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Head trauma has been implicated in the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). We performed a meta-analysis to investigate the association between head trauma and the risk of developing PD. We included observational studies if they (1) clearly defined PD, (2) defined head trauma leading to concussion, and (3) presented odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) or provided data to compute these statistics. Random effect model was used to estimate the pooled, adjusted OR. Heterogeneity between studies was evaluated with the Q test and the I2 statistic. We conducted a sensitivity analysis to assess the influence of each study and repeated the analysis by excluding the studies with the largest weights. We used funnel plot to assess the presence of publication bias.

After reviewing more than 636 article titles, 34 articles were selected for full review. In total, 22 studies (19 case-control studies, 2 nested case-control studies, and 1 cohort study) were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled OR for the association of PD and head trauma was 1.57 (95% CI, 1.35-1.83). The results of our meta-analysis indicate that a history of head trauma that results in concussion is associated with a higher risk of developing PD. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 08/08/13 at 12:22 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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