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Ludzik believes hockey career led to Parkinson’s

Aug 7, 2013, 4:09 PM EDT

Steve Ludzik

Former NHL player Steve Ludzik remains convinced that he developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of his hockey career.

On Tuesday, the 52-year-old reiterated his claim to the National Post, and said his doctors generally agree with his conclusion.

“They say they can’t prove it, and they can’t not prove it,” Ludzik said. “But it’s likely this is from damage to the head.”

Ludzik played 424 games in the NHL, most of them for the Chicago Blackhawks. During his playing career, he took countless hits.

“I remember going to the bench and I couldn’t remember which town I was in,” Ludzik told QMI Agency last year. “You never said anything (about concussions) because you wanted to keep your job.”

He added: “I know in my heart of hearts (the disease) was caused by taking shots to the head.

“It’s not the fights. It’s the constant pounding.”

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the causes of the disease remain unknown. However, according to Caroline M. Tanner (M.D., Ph.D.), “Traumatic brain injury — injury that results in amnesia or loss of consciousness — has been associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s years after the injury.”

  1. kingsforever - Aug 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Can’t not prove that the boogeyman and Easter bunny exists

    • no - Aug 7, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      if you can’t prove the Easter bunny doesn’t exist, then your logic skills should only make you qualified to burn my fries 70% of the time

  2. mlblogsbufnyfan - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I would hate to be Eric Lindros or Pat Lafontaine–they took so many concussions that they must be “sitting ducks” for Parkinson’s disease/Alzheimers etc.etc—and Sidney Crosby will be following them

  3. stakex - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    He’s free to think whatever he wants, but 60,000 people will develop Parkinson’s every year, and five percent of those people are younger then 50. The vast majority of those have never played hockey. So its really hard to blame this on his hockey career. What I would like to see is a statistical study of former NHL players to see how much more likely they are to develop Parkinson’s then non hockey players. My guess is that there isn’t much of a difference.

    Even if you did argue it was a result of playing hockey, it has to be remembered that back when he was playing concussions were handled much different then they are today. Back then Crosby would have missed a week at most, and been back on the ice before his head had a chance to heal. Now a days concussions are taken far more series, and players aren’t allowed to go out and play when they are suffering from one.

    • tightbutth0le - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      I’ve read that each case is unique to the patient, and there are different forms of Parkinson’s, but the two most likely factors are genetics and environmental tigers, according to research. You are correct however in saying that research has not been able to provide a clear cut, grand cause to the disease, but it also wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility, given the research on the subject so far, that this particular case was brought on by environmental triggers. Let’s keep an open mind about this and use it as a platform to continue the discussion on risks associated with heavy contact sports.

      As to your second paragraph, you’re right. It seems Athletics are making strides to prevent more difficulties for athletes later in life. However, we won’t really know if the measures taken recently will have a profound effect until the current group of players being brought up in this new environment of precaution are older and symptom free. We are still in the middle stages of the “experiment” if you will. We wont know the effects of today’s methods of prevention until we can compare it with the post hockey lives of older players (Control Group). Either way, at least it’s being discussed.

      • mp1131211 - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        Sometimes, if you keep your mind open enough, it will just fall right out. In his case, maybe his was knocked…

        Parkinson’s is not an effect of head trauma. There isn’t a shred of evidence that supports that. This is as likely to be true as the bible is. Opinions are like a**holes- everyone’s got one. Doesn’t mean its worth a damn thing to anyone else.

      • bigblackzaranek - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        Dr. MP is here i see…

      • tightbutth0le - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM


        It didnt take me more than a minute to find a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic (one of the most highly regarded Medical Research organizations on the planet) linking head trauma to Parkinson’s. You are straight up talking out of your ass. The fact that you don’t believe people shouldn’t keep an open mind on subjects without definitive answers is appalling. Frankly, it’s kinda messed up that you would rather have people keep their mouths shut and keep their world to the confines of their own opinions rather than have open discussions about serious medical concerns for the athletes that give you a little bit of satisfaction for 60 minutes a day 4 times a week. Theydeserve more respect than you are willing to give.

      • mp1131211 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        When a man (or woman ?) prefers to be addressed as “tightbutthole”, I have some trouble getting into a “serious medical discussion.” But let me try….

        There are links between head trauma and Parkinson’s. That’s undeniable. But what I said specifically was that there is not a shred of evidence that parkinson’s is an EFFECT of head trauma. There is A LOT more evidence suggesting that Parkinson’s is a degeneration of neural tissue as a result of bio-chemical processes than trauma processes. This has EVERYTHING to do with genetics and little to do with environment. At some point, in everyone’s life, they will encounter risk factors that increase their chances of developing Parkinson’s. How your body responds to those environmental stresses is defined by your genes. Unfortunately, Ludzik must have been predisposed to developing Parkinson’s. If it hadn’t come from head trauma, it might have come from pesticide exposure, mental or emotional stress, radiation, etc etc etc. He would have gotten Parkinson’s anyways.

        Try googling “Parkinson’s Causes”. Nowhere will you find any mention of head trauma as a cause (at least not from reputable sources and definitely not from Mayo Clinic. see here ). Why? Because there isn’t a shred of evidence that supports that, as I originally stated. Yes, a link. No, not a cause as Mr Ludzik argues.

        This is what I mean by a mind so open that it falls out. I’m not saying he should shut up. I’m saying that just because he really really really believes its true (in his “heart of hearts” – aka “god told me so”), doesn’t mean we should all say, “geez, it might be” – because its not. And we know that already because we can look at measurable, observable data that has been scrutinized by a variety of highly educated experts to determine its validity and we can conclude, from the evidence, that PD is not CAUSED from head trauma.

        As to your claims that I don’t give a sh*t about the players, well that’s just simply not true. I would like to see less fighting in the game and I’ve stated that a dozen times or more on this very site. I’m no brute. But I don’t let my compassion for other humans make me an idiot, either. Ludzik is free to hold this opinion. But until its backed by something concrete, it means nothing to me or to anyone else who has someone they love with Parkinson’s. (like I do.)

  4. thibbledorfpwent - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Well if he developed Parkinson’s as a result of the (statistically) middling number of career NHL games he played, then obviously the conclusion is that given his middle of the range environmental factors, he is clearly genetically deficient in such a manner that a lower number of cerebral contusions generates advanced forms if cerebral deficiencies. The answer? Prevent him from reproducing and give the man a Darwin Award, we don’t need his genes going forward in the general human genetic pool, they are obviously defective. If he’s already got kids? Sorry tots, you’re screwed, start wearing a helmet everywhere.

    • mp1131211 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      See, Tightbutthole, this is someone that doesn’t give two sh*ts about the people entertaining him.

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