On Friday, May 13th, New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment at only 28 years of age, raising many questions about how he died. It was revealed a few days ago his cause of death, but even that brings more questions than it does answers. Boogaard combined the pain-killer Oxycodone with alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Experts says that combining alcohol with painkillers can result in breathing problems and increase the risk of an overdose.
The instigator’s family said that Boogaard had been battling addictions for years and it wound up being his demise. He had been sitting out of games due to a concussion and last played on December 9, 2010 against the Ottawa Senators, where he suffered the injury after a fight with Matt Carkner.
Concussions are something that can linger for a long time, even after the injury itself is gone. Many athletes suffer post-concussion syndrome that could disrupt their daily lives. Here’s a guy that was probably mentally in shambles about all the pain he was in, plus not being able to be on the ice playing the game he loved so much. Add in the fact it was trying to live up to a contract that was much-criticized by Rangers fans, being a multi-millionaire at such a young age, and playing in New York City and you have a chance that someone can’t handle the pressure and a breakdown is possible.
Nobody knows what Boogey Man was thinking that fateful night, but it tugs at my heartstrings that there’s a chance he could have intentionally overdosed on these drugs and taken his own life. The coroner said that the overdose was accidental, so I hope that’s true. I’ve personally been affected by suicide in more ways than one and in fact, I’m lucky that I’m still here in that regard. Speculating on what someone potentially did may rub people the wrong way, but it’s something to consider.
What I really want to know is if his teammates kept in touch with him throughout his time on the shelf. It’s mentally draining knowing that you can’t play and it’s likely he was down in the dumps because of it and needed support. It was reported that the team told him to “go home” for the final few games of the regular season, even though Boogaard said he was able to play. This just shows you the lack of leadership on this team and that something needs to be done about it.
Several hundred people came to Boogaard’s funeral, which was held in Regina, Saskatchewan. There was nothing bad to say about the guy because there’s nothing bad about the gentle giant. Rangers scout Doug Risebrough said at the service “Boogey became a fan favorite, not only because of his physical play, his hits, his fights. He was working hard. The fans could see the improvement, and everyone was cheering for him.” About 35 people from the Blueshirts organization, including players Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, and Sean Avery, were there to mourn their fallen teammate.