Former Nashville Predators Captain’s Death Should Spark Change

2004 Season: Player Greg Johnson of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)
2004 Season: Player Greg Johnson of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images) /

According to a police report, the death of former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson was a suicide, another in the long list of suicides by professional athletes.

The Detroit News said on Wednesday that it acquired a Rochester Police report and that the former Nashville Predators captain was found dead by his wife on the morning of July 7th with a gun and a single bullet. He left no death note.

This is another sad example of suicide ending the lives of former NHLers, as we also lost the lives of Derek Boogard and Rick Rypien in recent memory.

This should spark the Nashville Predators organization, as well as people across the world, to take another look at mental health and spark more initiatives for people who do struggle with mental illnesses.

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Some initiatives were sparked after the deaths of Rypien and Boogard, but there should be more out there, as we still see not only regular people, but current and former players having mental issues as well.

We just saw one of the most inspiring stories in hockey this past year, with Robin Lehner rebounding after having issues with bipolar depression and having a spectacular season with the New York Islanders that earned Vezina Trophy consideration.

Some may also argue that his apparent suicide may also have something to do with the issue of CTE in sports, as we have seen this issue pop up a lot recently in sports, most prominently in Aaron Hernandez, who killed himself in jail in 2017.

After all, hockey is a sport that provides a lot of head contact, whether it is the dirty hits and fighting.

This is an example as to why the NHL needs stricter rules as far as hits to the head, whether it is game misconduct penalties or suspensions, these are things that need to be cracked down on.

We already saw a similar situation happen in this year’s playoffs, where Cody Eakin was called for a five-minute penalty for a hit causing Joe Pavelski to bleed through his helmet, which many fans called controversial (mostly Vegas fans).

I honestly agree with the call that the referees made, as it is helping crack down on hits that make contact with the head, which is great for the future of hockey.

Many player’s careers, like Lubomir Visnovsky, have had their careers ended on horrid hits to the head, and it seems like it is always the same guys who are making these hits.

Tom Wilson, who is a repeat offender of making these hits, was responsible for the ending of his career during the 2015 playoffs.

Visnovsky’s career was ended after he took an absolutely brutal hit from Tom Wilson, where his head gets slammed into the boards after being completely stream rolled him into the boards, causing him to be concussed and effectively ending his NHL career.

Players like Tom Wilson need to see harsher punishments for hits that make contact with the head in order to stop them from doing so, and maybe we can see the numbers of concussions go down.

Issues like these are causing players to be messed up upon retirement, which is why they need the mental help in their post-playing careers in the first place, just take a look at the players we’ve lost before.

Brain injuries have had huge effects on NHL players, and preventing them from happening is the best thing the NHL can do right now to prevent more of these things from happening, but they also need to provide more mental help initiatives.

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Whether it is cracking down on these hits to the head or sparking new mental health initiatives to help people who suffer from these issues before it’s too late, there is something that needs to be done and the future depends on it.

(In all seriousness, if you ever need someone to talk to, I will offer my help to be there for you, because sometimes you need that and I have felt that same way. So if you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, feel free to DM me on Twitter @ThatGuyColbs or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always there to help, call them at 1-800-273-8255)