Former NHL Enforcer joins brain study in honor of Bob Probert.

Former NHL Enforcer joins brain study in honor of Bob Probert.

A former NHL enforcer has joined a study on CTE in honor of his former opponent Bob Probert.

Jonathan Larivee

The topic of brain injuries in hockey can often been a difficult subject to talk about and certainly an uncomfortable one when we think back on many of the players who have suffered tremendously after their hockey career's have come to an end. Hockey fans are especially sensitive when it comes to this topic due to former players like Derek Boogaard or Wade Belak who were taken from us far too soon.

Thankfully knowledge around these brain injuries is ever expanding and recently a former National Hockey League enforcer made the decision to participate in a study of brain injuries in honor of one of his former opponents. Former Montreal Canadiens enforcer Chris "Knuckles" Nilan recently revealed that he is participating in a study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known simply as CTE, after a conversation with Bob Probert's widow inspired him to do so.

"If nobody takes part in it, how are they ever going to find out," said Nilan of the disease.

Thus far medical professionals have only been able to diagnose CTE, a debilitating condition, after death which leaves those suffering from the condition with very few answers while they are alive. Nilan is hoping that his participation in the study could help provide some of those answers sooner to those suffering from the condition.

"I'm happy I did it now and happy for the right reasons and that's helping other people," said Nilan.

Nilan intends to do follow up tests every year and will be donating his brain upon his death in an effort to help those who are suffering from CTE get answers, answers that unfortunately his former opponent Bob Probert was never able to get himself before he passed away in 2010.