Posted on November 29, 2011 · Posted in Brain Injury

Hockey star Keith Primeau drives a hard bargain.

When former National Hockey League linesman Pat Dapuzzo wanted Primeau to appear at a charity event, Primeau said he would do it on one condition, according to The New York Times.

Primeau wanted Dapuzzo to do what he had done: agree to donate his brain and spinal cord to the Boston University Center for the Study of of Traumatic Encephalopathy.  That is the center that is studying the brains of deceased football players and other athletes to see if they had developed that brain disease, which has been linked to repetitive head injuries.

Primeau and Dapuzzo share a bond that many pro hockey players and pro football players share, namely that their careers were cut short by the many concussions they suffered because of those sports, according to The Times.

Dapuzzo’s story was more gruesome than most. On Feb. 9, 2008 Dapuzzo was hit in the face by a skate blade, and it literally cut his nose off. Physicians sewed it back on, but it wasn’t the only injury that he received. He had a concussion, multiple bone fractures to his face, and bone fragments in his ears that caused bad earaches, according to The Times.

But perhaps worse of all, Dapuzzo fell into clinical depression, depression so bad that he sometimes wouldn’t open the door when his hockey friends came by. According to The Times, Dapuzzo had suffered from depression previously, in the 1990s. Then he got some insight into what might have caused it.

After the horrible injuries he sustained in 2008, Dapuzzo underwent a battery of neurological tests, and learned that he had sustained other concussions. In one instance, Dapuzzo recalled that he was hit in a collision, vomited in the penalty box and played the rest of the game, even though “the Meadowlands Arena was spinning around” him, The Times reported.

In the mid-1990s, Dapuzzo missed an entire season while he got treatment for depression.

A New Jersey resident, Dapuzzo is still dealing with bouts of depression. But he was recently hired as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, which was the hook for The Times’s story on him. And he says he is thankful to have that chance to work again.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447