A disturbing new report from the New York Times has painted the suicide of former National Hockey League enforcer Todd Ewen, findings so disturbing that I genuinely find myself at a loss for words when it comes to describing the heinous nature of what I believe has transpired here.
Ewen took his own life in September of 2015 when he shot fatally shot himself and the young age of just 49, and at the time of the incident everyone immediately suspected that C.T.E was behind the death of yet another professional athlete in a contact sport. It was for that reason that so many were stunned when the findings of neuropathologist Lili-Naz Hazrati came back negative for CTE, indicating that Ewen had in fact not suffered from the degenerative disease that has now been linked to repeated blows to the head.
Ewen's wife was left in complete disbelief after she had seemingly witnessed every symptom of CTE in her husband first hand.
“It was like checking boxes on a list,” said Kelli Ewen as per the New York Times. “Check, check, check. Every symptom of C.T.E., Todd had.”
The findings in 2016 were without a doubt shocking and now there is also no longer any doubt that those findings were also flat out wrong. According to the Times report Kelli simply could not believe that her husband had not suffered from the disease and for that reason she asked that his brain tissue be sent to doctors at Boston University’s C.T.E. Center. To her shock those result came back positive for signs of CTE so the tissue was sent to the Mayo Clinic, this time anonymously, and again the result came back positive for C.T.E.
It raises questions about how Hazrati got things so wrong in 2016, and although we will likely never know the answer to those questions we can certainly raise some suspicions. For one Hazrati would later go on to be an expert witness for the National Hockey League in their ongoing concussion litigation with former players. A spokesperson for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto where Hazrati works confirmed that she had provided expert testimony for the NHL while claiming that neither Hazrati or the hospital had been compensated for their work. That being said though Hazrait's own statements contradict that claim. In a declaration Hazrati herself admitted that she had billed the league for $25,000 whcih she said was donated to a foundation at the hospital where she works.
Unsurprisingly Ewen's attorney, Brian Gudmundson, called Hazrati's credibility as an expert witness into question pointing to statements that she had made regarding the existence of C.T.E.
“I do not believe enough research has been performed to date to show that C.T.E. is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease, nor do I believe that the current research can explain the relationship between head impacts and pathology or head impacts and the symptoms described in the current C.T.E. literature,” she wrote in a declaration in April 2017.
Gudmundson openly asked why a neuropathologist who does not believe in the disease would continue to try and obtain the brains of professional athletes who are donating their organs specifically for the purpose of this research.
“It is concerning to me that someone who won’t admit C.T.E. is a disease, or has any symptoms, so actively seeks to obtain these players’ brains,” Gudmundson said.
There are a lot of questions surrounding these new findings, and none of them are any good.