Family of former NHLer Greg Johnson shares details of posthumously diagnoses

Josh Tupper
July 10, 2024  (11:50)

Greg Johnson
Photo credit: NHL

Five years after his death, the family of former NHL player Greg Johnson has revealed that he was diagnosed posthumously with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Johnson, who died by suicide in 2019, had a 14-season career in the NHL, playing 785 regular-season games for four different teams.

Johnson's daughter, Carson, issued a statement urging the NHL and its players to recognize the dangers of repeated head trauma and take necessary precautions.
"I had no idea what CTE even stood for when my dad took his life. Now understanding that the hits he endured throughout his hockey career damaged his brain, I want all athletes to understand the risks and I want the NHL to start acknowledging it exists and do more to protect its players so other daughters don't have to lose their fathers."

Despite mounting evidence linking CTE to repeated brain trauma from hits and fights in hockey, the NHL has consistently denied any connection, labeling the evidence as anecdotal and incomplete. A study of 18 players in Canada and the US revealed that 17 had CTE, including notable names like Ralph Backstrom, Henri Richard, Stan Mikita, Bob Probert, Steve Montador, and Bob Murdoch, in addition to Johnson.
Johnson's wife recalled his acknowledgment of the impact his hockey career had on his brain and his sense of relief upon retiring due to a heart condition.
"He experienced very few symptoms that we knew of, but he spoke of his concussions often.

I remember the exact moment he told me his heart condition forcing him to retire was a blessing because he couldn't take another hit. He knew his hockey career had a profound impact on his brain."

Throughout his NHL career, Johnson played for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators. He also earned a silver medal with Team Canada at the 1994 Winter Olympics and a gold medal at the 1991 World Juniors. His diagnosis adds to the growing list of hockey players affected by CTE, highlighting the urgent need for the NHL to address the issue more comprehensively.
Source: Balde of Steel
Former NHLer Greg Johnson posthumously diagnosed with CTE
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Family of former NHLer Greg Johnson shares details of posthumously diagnoses

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