Former Yale Hockey player joins in call for NHL concussion study


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Eight months ago, 24-year-old Paige Decker of Preston says she was unable to get out of bed because of headache, vision problems and ringing in the ears.

It was the result of a whiplash-type blow she received while playing on the Yale Women’s Hockey Team more than two years ago. She stopped playing.  

“In my case, my injury, it was an illegal play. I was hit from behind,” said Decker, “The player that hit me, it was her third penalty of the game, which in hockey is a lot, and it was a hit from behind so that type of a hit can be avoided.”

Hits in hockey are nothing new. Professional hockey players take hits all the time, it’s a great game, but it’s very physical.

Decker is joining with Sen. Richard Blumenthal in calling on the National Hockey League to fund research into a possible link between these hits and brain disorders in later life. But the NHL Commissioner has denied any credible, scientific link between concussions in hockey and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, commonly called CTE.

“As a physician on the front lines seeing these concussions every day, I completely understand the statement that this is a public health issue and we do see concession quite frequently in sports,” said Dr. David Wang the Medical Director of Elite Sports Medicine at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and team physician for Quinnipiac University.

The NHL commissioner also says that Blumenthal’s requests are premised on misconceptions that have been repeatedly promoted in the media by lawyers pursuing concussion-related litigation against the NHL.

“I’m calling on the NHL to fund an independent foundation that will support this research because they are a role model,” said Sen. Blumenthal.

The Senator says that whatever the NHL might do would lead the way for college and high school hockey.

Paige Decker is recovering now with the proper therapy and is now working to help establish a non profit specializing in sports concussion education.