Originally this was going to a salary piece for the New York
Ranger’s off-season moves but I read a posting over at “Taking Note” a mostly junior
hockey blog written by a guy who has been covering the sport for over 37 years.
Gregg Drinnan has been in his own way a mentor to me and when he gets on what
some people would consider a soapbox, I always listen because I do learn from
In his Sunday post Gregg tackles a subject that most people
don’t want to really talk about very much. The subject is mental health and
most times when you say those words that people run away not wanting to talk about
it. Odds are several of you are going to click yourself away from this because
you don’t believe it has anything to do with hockey and you would be wrong.
There are studies that are linking depression with
concussions along with several other injuries including nerve damage in the
neck and spinal cords. So if I still have your attention then I can tell you
that odds are very good that you know somebody who has some sort of mental
illness as the numbers of people suffering from something are staggering.
In fact you are reading the words of someone who suffers
from depression as well as a general anxiety disorder. How did I wind up with
these not so wonderful experiences you ask?
I wish I could pinpoint it but I do realize that once I
started having issues with my neck that the symptoms became more and more
noticeable. Trust me when I tell you how much all of this really sucks as
nobody asks to be depressed but since 2007 when I had my first neck operation,
I have had to deal with things I never thought I would.
It is 2:50 AM when I write this after promising myself that
I would be going to bed by 3 instead of what is becoming a habit of going to be
at 5AM. Depression robs you of self-confidence and the ability to make what
should be basic everyday normal decisions.
With depression you find yourself saying that you will get
up, take a shower and go do some errand but that doesn’t happen very often as
you find excuses not to do things. When you do that then later on you get to
beat yourself up over why you didn’t do what you promised yourself that you
And yes I am seeing a counselor but fixing what has gone
wrong won’t happen overnight. But I strongly urge you to take the time to read
what Drinnan wrote and click on the various links because this goes way beyond
Terry Trafford took his own life after he was sent home by
the Saginaw Spirit, Rich Clune who plays for the Nashville Predators has
battled depression over the years as have Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears
of the NFL.
But if you are reading this and think that you too might be
suffering from some sort of mental health issue then please reach out to
someone whether they be loved ones, teachers or open the phone book and look
for community outreach programs.
There is help out there so take advantage of it as the live
you save just might be your own. I promise back to hockey tomorrow.