CTE is a degenerative brain ailment that is closely related to Alzheimer's disease. CTE can be brought on by repeated blows to the head. Symptoms of CTE include memory loss, impulsiveness, mood swings and addiction.
The 28-year-old Boogaard died in May due to an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. Sadly, CTE can only be diagnosed after the death of the victim.
Four hockey players of the four examined were determined to have CTE but none of them were as young or in the prime of their careers as Boogaard had been. Doctors were surprised to see the amount of damage done at such a young age. It was determined that if Boogaard was still alive, his condition would have worsened into middle-age dementia.
It was determined that Boogaard's disease was much more advanced than another famed enforcer—former Red Wing and Blackhawk player Bob Probert—who died of heart failure in 2010 at the age of 45.
CTE has been found in many boxers and football players and is now being found in more young hockey players like Boogaard.
The death of Boogaard and other young enforcers like Rick Rypien, 27, who committed suicide after suffering from years of depression and Wade Belak, 35, who had recently retired and 16 days later hung himself—although the family has since said it was an accident and has brought about the question of whether or not the NHL should ban fighting.
Should the NHL Ban Fighting?
Boogaard recorded three goals and 13 assists for a total of 16 points in his NHL career. A stat that Boogaard was more known for was the amount of time he spent in the penalty box.
Boogaard had a total of 589 penalty minutes in the regular season and 44 in the playoffs. Boogaard spent nearly his whole career with the Minnesota Wild and played in 22 games for the New York Rangers before he was suffered a season-ending injury in what would be his last NHL season before he sadly died in May.
Derek "the boogeyman" Boogaard was considered one of the most feared fighters in the NHL and was arguably one of the best enforcers to play the game. Here is just one link to one of Boogaard's fights. That one broke a cheek bone.