Todd Ewen’s brain did not show signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to a Canadian Concussion Centre report released on Wednesday.
"These results indicate that in some athletes, multiple concussions do not lead to the development of CTE," said Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a neuropathologist who conducted the autopsy. "Our findings continue to show that concussions can affect the brain in different ways. This underlines the need to not only continue this research, but also be cautious about drawing any definitive conclusions about CTE until we have more data."
The 49-year-old Ewen took his own life in September, becoming the seventh ex-NHL tough guy to die since in the last five years. He suffered multiple concussions during his career and later battled depression.
"Every time it was announced that a fellow player had CTE, Todd would say: 'If they had CTE, I know I have CTE.' He was terrified by the thought of a future living with a degenerative disease that could rob him of his quality of life, and cause him to be a burden to his family," said Ewen’s widow, Kelli, who decided to donate her husband’s brain to the CCC.
"We were very surprised by the results as we were sure Todd must have had CTE. We hope that anyone suffering from the effects of concussion takes heart that their symptoms are not an automatic diagnosis of CTE. Depression coupled with other disorders can have many of the same symptoms as CTE.”
In September, the Blues Alumni Association opened a GoFundMe page in Ewen’s honor which to date has raised over $4,500 for CTE research.
Ewen’s brain was the 20th of a former athlete that the CCC has examined, with their stated goal of reaching at least 50 brains as part of their continuing research.
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