Former NHL Player Prescribed Thousands of Pills by Team Doctors

Derek Boogaard died May 2011 at the age of 28 following an overdose of alcohol and narcotic painkillers after receiving hundreds of prescriptions from NHL team doctors, according to a recent sports story.

Boogaard’s father, Len Boogaard, began his own research by requesting records from cell phone providers, the team’s doctors, multiple pharmacies, private practices and other sources to try to uncover more about his son’s addiction.

His father knew he was an addict but felt he became an addict because of his multiple hockey injuries. Boogaard entered a substance abuse program through the league in 2009 and prescriptions such as painkillers and sleeping pills came both before and after he entered rehab.

The NHL, doctors, teams and drug abuse program directors who are involved in Boogaard’s care declined to comment about the player and would not discuss his situation in detail. No doctors or co-directors named in his report would comment either.

Boogaard died last year after missing much of his opening season with the New York Rangers, partly because of a concussion he received during a brawl on the ice.

After his death, his parents donated his brain for research at Boston University. The family later learned he had C.T.E., or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a disease of the brain due to multiple blows to your head. Some of the symptoms of C.T.E. are addictive behavior, impulsivity and memory loss.

The professor of pathology and lab medicine at the University of Kentucky, Gregory J. Davis told the NY Times he didn’t see any red flags in Boogaard’s list of medicines. Davis did say that what stood out to him upon reading Boogaard’s report was a young man that was in desperate need of help.