I felt compelled to write about the suicide death of Wade Belak, a retired NHL player, for several reasons and it isn’t because I’m a huge hockey fan. In fact, what struck me as most tragic about his death was:
- He suffered from depression for a number of years. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Mr. Belak’s suicide underscores the fact that we have a long way to go to make progress on this serious issue.
- Mr. Belak’s suicide again raises the issue of how brain injuries can lead to long-term mental health issues. His role as a hockey player was the “tough guy” and, therefore, he took a lot of hits over the years. Given the fact that Mr. Belak is the third NHL hockey player to die within the past few months (Derek Boogaard died of an oxycodone overdose and Rick Rypien died in what’s believed to be a suicide), the NHL will have to make this issue a top priority. The status quo is not acceptable!
- Mr. Belak leaves behind 2 young children and a wife. Death is always hardest on the surviving family members.
- Mr. Belak’s young daughter suffers from Tourette Syndrome and Mr. Belak was actively involved in trying to raise much needed funds and awareness for this cause. As a parent of two sons with Tourettes, I know how difficult it will be for Mr. Belak’s widow to raise their children as a single parent.
- If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please ask for help. Seek medical attention immediately. Call the suicide prevention lifeline at (800) 273-TALK.
- If you would like information about Tourette Syndrome, I would highly recommend checking out the following resource: Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, http://www.tourette.ca/.
- The best method of prevention for head injuries is the use of safety helmets. For more information, please check out www.thinkfirst.ca.
- Encourage the NHL to clamp down on violence within the sport of hockey.
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- Tags: Brain Injuries, Depression, General, Health, Hockey, Mental Illness, Suicide, Tourette Syndrome, Violence, Wade Belak