Coroner Rules Cause Of Death As Accidental Overdose
Former Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard, who was found dead by family last Friday, appears to have died from an accidental overdose. The Hennepin County coroner announced its report today, and says that the death of the 28 year old player was an accidental overdose caused by a combination of alcohol and Oxycodone. The family of Boogaard has already announced that they will donate his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Derek Boogaard was one of the first handful of draft picks the Wild ever made. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 Entry Draft, the same year the Wild took Mikko Koivu as their first overall pick. The Boogeyman made his way up to the NHL level, where he developed a cult following as one of the league’s greatest fighter. Boogaard continued to win fights and breathe energy into the Wild every night. Last offseason, when it became clear that Minnesota didn’t have the money to resign him, Boogaard saw the big bucks being offered by the New York Rangers, and took his talents to Broadway.
This season was abbreviated for Boogaard. He played only 22 games with his usual physicality and fighting dominance. At one point in November, he even scored his first goal since 2006, a scoreless span of 234 games. But people came out not to see him score, but to scuffle. Boogaard was the best at it. And in the end, it turns out to be the last thing he ever did in the NHL. On December 9 of this season, Boogaard got into a fight with Matt Carkner of the Ottawa Senators. The fight itself almost became irrelevant because of the Carkner’s alleged flinging of blood at the Rangers bench. It turns out Boogaard suffered an injured shoulder and concussion in the fracas. The injuries caused him to miss the rest of the regular season, as well as the Rangers’ short playoff run.
While the death of Boogaard is very sudden and sad, the findings by the coroner leaves many questions unanswered. Many jumped immediately to the notion of concussions. Immediately after the death, the New York Post reported that Boogaard had been involved with the league substance program. Other reports by the Star Tribune in St. Paul suggested that Boogaard had already been involved with the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. The Star Tribune said that he had already been involved with the program back in 2009, when he missed most of training camp and two weeks at the start of the 2009-10 due to a supposed concussion. If these reports are true, it shows there was a much deeper problem for the Boogeyman than just injuries.
It was known that Boogaard was struggling with his recovery from the concussion, at least the third in his career. The concussions don’t appear to play a role in the death at this point, but it is still early. However, injuries may have indirectly led to Boogaard’s death. Boogaard’s family announced that they would be donating his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Donating his brain allows for the Institute to check for brain damage and other symptoms associated with concussions and traumatic brain injuries. This is the same place that has studied concussions in the NFL and other professions for years. The Institute also recently announced their findings on the donated brain of Duane Duerson.
Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms. He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long. Look for new articles throughout the week. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bryanvickroy . If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .