Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been a hot-button topic in sports for quite some time as links between concussions sustained during a players’ career and the neurological disease continue to be made. However, at least one key member in the sports world still apparently doesn’t see the connection between concussions and CTE.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in a response to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, continued to take a stand against the link between the two by seemingly playing dumb about it all.
“The relationship between concussions and the asserted clinical symptoms of CTE remains unknown,” Bettman said in his written response to the Senator via The New York Times.
He also added that the science conducted to determine the link between the disease and concussions remains an evolving subject that isn’t exact while stating that there needed to be a larger consensus on the matter rather than “speculation”.
CTE, which can only be diagnosed posthumously, is caused by repeated blows to one’s head, according to researchers.
It’s a disease that has been found in former NHL enforcers – you know, the players who got paid to give and take punches to the head – like Derek Boogaard and Brob Probert. For Bettman to come out and continue to avoid giving straight on answers to questions regarding CTE and the links between the disease and his league just proves how out of touch the commissioner really his with his players and his sport.
It’s just hard to believe that someone in that type of position would be that blissfully unaware of the link between CTE and head trauma. From movies to books to documentaries about the subject, there is plenty of content available for the public to consume to learn more about the brain disease that has led to some of sports’ biggest legends ending their lives in order to escape the pain and suffering they endure. When most of the public that call themselves sports fans know about the dangers of the disease and the issues that plague the athletes they idolize, one should assume that the leader of one of the biggest leagues in North America would know about it as well.
Some might even start to think that he’s responding the way he is solely for financial reasons. After all, it is Bettman’s job to do what he can to maximize the value of the NHL, and a lawsuit surrounding his league and a disease like CTE certainly doesn’t help that cause. But if that truly is the case, which no one can say for sure other than Bettman himself, then that would lead to a whole different issue for the Commissioner in the eyes of the public.
With the NHL facing a lawsuit from players regarding the link between the sport, concussions and head injuries, Bettman seems to be so oblivious to everything that he just comes off as ignorant more than anything else. Either he truly doesn’t understand the issues at hand, or he’s simply pretending that he doesn’t believe what’s been said by scientists.
No matter how one looks at the situation, it’s a bad look for the Commissioner and the league he runs.