Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard in awhile: Guillaume Latendresse. Remember him? The former NHLer with the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators has been retired since the 2014-15 season, but not by choice. He was forced to quit the game he loves because of brain injuries. He was recently on a Montreal radio station to discuss the NHL playoffs and Sidney Crosby’s most recent injury, when he revealed his own heartbreaking story of injury.
"I live with anxiety, stress, headaches, fatigue. I have to sleep for eight hours, otherwise I have misery to work in my day. Normally, it was never that. When Guillaume Latendresse got up in the morning, it was in a good mood. Life is Beautiful. Today, it’s a little different. " Scary words from a relatively young and healthy 29 year-old man.
Latendresse admits that he tried to play through the pain and avoided doctor’s orders for too long. Now, the consequences are unavoidable. "What the athletes need to understand is that I am no longer healthy,” he said, “And the new person I became, that's it.”
Sadly, Latendresse serves now as a cautionary tale for other professional hockey players. One can imagine that both Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are aware at the severity of rushing back from a head injury. Not just because of the on-ice consequences, but the real life consequences as well.