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Bob Murdoch’s family says the two-time Stanley Cup winner suffered from stage 3 CTE | CBC Sports

Bob Murdoch’s family says the two-time Stanley Cup champion suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive and fatal disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation said in a statement Wednesday that researchers at Boston University’s CTE Center made the diagnosis after Murdoch died in August at age 76.

The foundation added that Murdoch’s widow, Bev, published the findings to raise awareness of the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head in hockey.

The brain study revealed that Murdoch, who was also NHL coach of the year with the Winnipeg Jets in 1989-90, had stage 3 CTE at the time of his death.

Murdoch is the youngest former NHL player to be posthumously diagnosed with the disease, which cannot be confirmed during a person’s lifetime. However, doctors can identify suspected cases based on symptoms and neurological examinations.

Former NHL enforcer Chris Simon died by suicide last week at the age of 52. His family said in a statement they “strongly believe” CTE was to blame. The NHL has repeatedly denied any connection between hockey and CTE, including at recent meetings of the league’s general managers in Florida.

“No surprise”

Murdoch played for the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta/Calgary Flames for twelve seasons from 1970 to 1982, scoring 60 goals and 278 points.

The defenseman from Kirkland Lake, Ontario, won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1971 and 1973.

“This diagnosis was no surprise,” Bev Murdoch, Bob’s wife of 37 years, said in the Concussion Legacy Foundation statement. “He knew, we all knew intuitively, what was causing his suffering. Much more needs to be done in professional hockey to detect and prevent CTE.”

“If not, there will be more people like Bob who will lose many years of their lives.”

The foundation said 16 of 17 NHL players examined in the United States and Canada have now been diagnosed with CTE, including Murdoch’s former Montreal teammates Ralph Backstrom and Henri Richard, as well as Stan Mikita, Bob Probert and Steve Montador.

WATCH l Former NHL enforcer Chris Nilan participates in CTE study:

Former NHL enforcer participates in CTE study

Former NHL enforcer Chris “Knuckles” Nilan has participated in a study to learn more about the effects of contact sports on the brain, particularly the role of repeated blows to the head in the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can only be diagnosed after death.

Murdoch was an assistant with the Flames before coaching Chicago (1987-88) and the original Jets (1989-91). He won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 1989-90 after Winnipeg improved by 11 wins and 21 points.

The family said Murdoch began experiencing mild cognitive impairment in 2015 before being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, Parkinsonism and Alzheimer’s disease in 2019. Murdoch suspected that CTE contributed to his symptoms and decided to donate his brain to Boston University after his death. said the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

“It’s not just the athletes who are suffering,” said Bev Murdoch. “This disease has such a significant impact on the family, especially the spouses who care for them. For seven years I had to watch the love of my life disappear.”

The Concussion Legacy Foundation said researchers are studying whether CTE increases the risk of developing other brain diseases later in life.

“I am disappointed that the NHL still refuses to recognize a clear causal link between repeated head impacts and CTE,” said Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the Boston University CTE Center and the UNITE Brain Bank, said the statement.

“I wish [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman] were able to see the damage these brains suffer and the pain this disease causes to families.”

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