The effects of concussions on players in professional sports have rippled across multiple leagues, from football to soccer and hockey. The issues of concussions are among the biggest facing the world of sports, yet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman continues to deny a link between concussions and the brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E. The denial from Bettman came in response to questions from a United States senator regarding the effects of concussions on hockey players.

“The science regarding C.T.E., including on the asserted ‘link’ to concussions that you reference, remains nascent, particularly with respect to what causes C.T.E. and whether it can be diagnosed by specific clinical symptoms,” Mr. Bettman wrote.

The NHL commissioner also took a chance to blame the new media of implanting fear of concussions and head injuries to the public while defending the league’s approach to the ever-growing amount of concussion research being conducted. 

While the NHL does not receive the same amount of attention in regards to C.T.E and concussions, it is perhaps the most similar to the NFL when it comes to their opinions towards the issue, though research claims otherwise. C.T.E., which can’t be detected until after death, was diagnosed in at least six deceased NHL players in addition to about 100 former NFL players. The NHL is also in the midst of a class-action lawsuit by former players who cite that they weren’t warned of the long-term effects of head injuries.

There are many parallels that can be drawn between the NHL and the NFL. While hockey may not be the most popular sports league nationwide, its concussion problem is just as big. And the refusal of Bettman to acknowledge the link and long-term effects of head injuries does not serve to better the league’s case moving forward.

[New York Times]

About Colby Lanham

Colby Lanham is a graduate of Clemson University who, in addition to writing for The Comeback, has written for SI's Campus Rush, Bleacher Report, and Clemson Athletics. He is an alumni of the 2015 Sports Journalism Institute, where he also worked as an editorial intern for He has interests in football, basketball, and various forms of pop culture.