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What really happened to Kyle Okposo

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What this man and his family went through...

https://theathletic.com/538676/2018/09/24/back-from-the-abyss-kyle-okposo-opens-up-about-the-darkest-days-of-his-life/

Sorry for non-subscribers, but I have to log off and can’t do the article justice in a quick summary. I’m sure someone else will eventually.

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I've been waiting for this story to come out. Dark's alluded to it a few times when talking about how part of last year's locker room was having big issues (we heard about it last Spring), but obviously, it's pretty sensitive/painful information you don't just start sharing. 

 Long story cut super short for those of you who can't see the article- Remember when Okposo was dealing with a terrifying brain injury and all the reports were super vague? He was in the ICU and very close to killing himself, at one point asking to be put into a coma so he could just sleep. Part physical and part psychological- he was in horrible shape. He's doing much better now but the man went through hell- unable to speak, etc. I believe it was triggered by a concussion, complicated by a nagging neck injury. He's a really solid guy who went through unimaginable hell- the article talks with his wife quite a lot as well, which really nails down how harrowing it was. 

 

I'm hoping the KO we were hoping for is here now, and I'm hoping his detractors settle down a bit. 

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Uh...I can't read the article until tonight, but going off of what Josie said, why on earth is this guy still playing hockey? Or was the ICU thing a fluke thing that would never happen again even if he gets another concussion? That's pretty terrifying and absolutely not worth playing hockey for a mediocre team with that risk level.

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1 minute ago, Randall Flagg said:

Uh...I can't read the article until tonight, but going off of what Josie said, why on earth is this guy still playing hockey? Or was the ICU thing a fluke thing that would never happen again even if he gets another concussion? That's pretty terrifying and absolutely not worth playing hockey for a mediocre team with that risk level.

Dunno. Hockey's his life, he's young still, maybe it's a sort of "I need to conquer this" thing?

It's part of the article- his wife was a hockey player too- shattered her leg and came back the next year, even though she did so "against what she conceded was sounder judgement". They felt that had an idea of the triggers now, she was pregnant with kid 3, they have a plan in place in case of this happening again and he's not more worried about CTE than he always has been. Scandella's quoted as saying if anything was off, they'd keep him from going out on a shift. KO is now involved in mental health orgs/charities, as well. 

So, kind of the par for the course "you really shouldn't keep doing this, but you're going to, aren't you" sort of things you get with pro athletes (and really any athlete). 

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11 minutes ago, josie said:

Dunno. Hockey's his life, he's young still, maybe it's a sort of "I need to conquer this" thing?

It's part of the article- his wife was a hockey player too- shattered her leg and came back the next year, even though she did so "against what she conceded was sounder judgement". They felt that had an idea of the triggers now, she was pregnant with kid 3, they have a plan in place in case of this happening again and he's not more worried about CTE than he always has been. Scandella's quoted as saying if anything was off, they'd keep him from going out on a shift. KO is now involved in mental health orgs/charities, as well. 

So, kind of the par for the course "you really shouldn't keep doing this, but you're going to, aren't you" sort of things you get with pro athletes (and really any athlete) humans

 

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6 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

"Matt Moulson slept in the hospital lobby. Alicia Moulson cooked for Danielle to make sure she ate."

Say what you will about Matt Moulson but he is a good human. 

Matt was good at hockey at one point.  Now he is not very good at hockey.

Those things just don't matter.  What does is what he did for his friend.  That is all that ever matters.

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17 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

"Matt Moulson slept in the hospital lobby. Alicia Moulson cooked for Danielle to make sure she ate."

Say what you will about Matt Moulson but he is a good human. 

Hear, hear.

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I'm still a tad worried about Kyle. Not to make light of his story but it's reminiscent of Office Space where dude is hypnotized and just stops caring. I'm glad he sounds better but for everyone's sake I hope he's out of the woods. Scary stuff. 

Regardless, I'll be rooting for Kyle, the person not just the hockey player. 

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The article is very well written and had me riveted to each word. Kudo's to Tim Graham. 

The entire experience was harrowing of course, and the whole hospitalization part of it is key,  but another thing that caught my attention was the neck injury aspect of it, and the story about the un-named Dr. doing adjustments on his neck that seemed to impact his entire body (and mind) in a significant way. That's wild stuff.  The body is an amazingly complex thing.  

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What a sobering read, makes me feel bad for dogging on him last season. I'm officially giving KO a clean slate and hope/expect he turns it around a bit and gets back to form, if that's at all possible.

While reading this part of me is thinking "why on earth aren't you retiring after this?" If he's soley driven by being a father/husband, why risk everything like that? One bad hit can set this all off again, no? I suppose that applies for all players though, but he's got perspective. I don't know.

This coupled with the Lehner article really paints a picture of how furked that locker room was. I'm half expecting another article in 2 weeks about Johan Larsson's spiral into the seedy underworld of Furries and his personal struggle living as a closeted golden retriever. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

"Matt Moulson slept in the hospital lobby. Alicia Moulson cooked for Danielle to make sure she ate."

Say what you will about Matt Moulson but he is a good human. 

No doubt - excellent post.

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I'm glad Kyle finally decided to let this story come out. It's been tough knowing about it and watching fans who didn't know any better speculate wildly. 

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I think this board does a really good job of separating hockey and real life, but I'd just like to reiterate that every time I have a complaint about something from Kyle, Robin, or anyone else on the ice, that feeling certainly doesn't carry over to how I view them and root for them as people off the ice (and of course while Sabres I root for them on the ice too). The hockey, ultimately, just doesn't matter. If my emotions ever get to a point where I screw up and say something I shouldn't, I should be yelled at. 

And yeah, Kyle and Matt are just great guys all around. I actually hope Kyle keeps his A this year, as I think his preparation and expectations for his teammates are among the most professional and intense on the team. 

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6 minutes ago, darksabre said:

I'm glad Kyle finally decided to let this story come out. It's been tough knowing about it and watching fans who didn't know any better speculate wildly. 

They mention in the article how surprised/nervous his wife is about this disclosure. It's very much a "I'm going through this hell, I'm being public because it's better than keeping it in the dark" sort of feel. It makes you wonder, when you consider that and the sheer number of post-career tell-all's of similar and various hells, how many dudes in the NHL are dealing with career changing/life changing demons on the daily in silence. We know they're out there. The stigma of illness (physical or mental) is so strong when your ability to move and perform denotes your worth. But I think, and I hope, the time has come that these struggles will be met with more understanding than criticism (the whole "oh he's weaaak" argument). 

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And didn't Risto get really angry at some point last season when Kyle got hit rather high? That would explain his reaction a bit too. 

Edited by Randall Flagg
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I wish him luck, but really sounds like the smart thing for him would've been to retire.   

He's still a young man, has lifelong financial security and a young family to look after... I understand he's a competitor, but he's putting a great deal at risk by continuing to play.

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1 hour ago, josie said:

They mention in the article how surprised/nervous his wife is about this disclosure. It's very much a "I'm going through this hell, I'm being public because it's better than keeping it in the dark" sort of feel. It makes you wonder, when you consider that and the sheer number of post-career tell-all's of similar and various hells, how many dudes in the NHL are dealing with career changing/life changing demons on the daily in silence. We know they're out there. The stigma of illness (physical or mental) is so strong when your ability to move and perform denotes your worth. But I think, and I hope, the time has come that these struggles will be met with more understanding than criticism (the whole "oh he's weaaak" argument). 

It’s pretty crazy how what these guys go through is similar to what a lot of the people who get out or are still in the military. Especially the stigma of illness especially mental portion. That is one of the reason I am no longer in the Navy. When I started to go get help for my physical and mental issues the doctors were like you can’t re-enlist do to your ailments and I was not any worse then half the people I served with. They get to stay in by suffering in silence. I am happy I got help even it meant I had to go “home”. 

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8 minutes ago, bobs0108 said:

It’s pretty crazy how what these guys go through is similar to what a lot of the people who get out or are still in the military. Especially the stigma of illness especially mental portion. That is one of the reason I am no longer in the Navy. When I started to go get help for my physical and mental issues the doctors were like you can’t re-enlist do to your ailments and I was not any worse then half the people I served with. They get to stay in by suffering in silence. I am happy I got help even it meant I had to go “home”. 

I'm glad you got help, too. I'm sorry you went through that.

 It's a huge problem everywhere, but especially those "gruff n tough", stereotypically masculine professions. I've read a lot of books and articles from veterans sharing their struggles with that. Things like BellLet'sTalk and this org KO is working with are a step in the right direction. 

1 hour ago, Randall Flagg said:

And didn't Risto go nuts at some point last season when Kyle got hit rather high? That would explain his reaction a bit too. 

Yeah, not sure it's the same exact hit, but they mention a few on the timeline to Kyle's experience. Def got the feeling everyone is protective of him now. Says a lot about the kinda guy he is. 

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9 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I actually just realized what poor form the phrase "go nuts" has in a discussion like this.  Whoops

You're gonna have a hard time making progress in removing that from people's lexicon. The R word gets dropped and people are quick to jump on people now(sometimes rightly so) but you can toss out nut job, crazy, schizo, psycho, lunatic, whack job and about 2 dozen others and no one would bat an eye.

Big differences in how we view mentally challenged from mentally disturbed.

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Did the article mention what specifically the neck problem was? Any mention of occipital neuralgia?

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He was deliberately non specific on the neck injury, but the implication seemed to be he was treated by chiropractic or other non-traditional means.

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Also the article mentions the original head hit released a lot of unnamed traumatic childhood memories he had supressed and he became very angry about.  His sister was with him a lot post concussion because he trusted her reminding him she went thru that same stuff... What wasn’t stated specifically, though the term abuse was used a couple of times.  Sounds like the perfect storm... in this case storm in the brain.

Edited by North Buffalo

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