Bettman refutes link between concussions and CTE

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Concussions and the salary cap are common topics for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, yet he provided some interesting comments about both on Thursday.

Following the death of former defenseman Steve Montador and looming litigation regarding concussions, Bettman refuted the connection some have made between concussions and CTE, as the Associated Press reports.

“From a medical and scientific standpoint,” Bettman said about a possible link between concussions and CTE, “there is no evidence yet that one leads to the other.”

Interesting. Chris Nowinski – the co-founder of the Boston University CTE Center and someone who is “fighting concussions every day – seemed to disagree with Bettman’s observations.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the definition of CTE, according to Nowinsky’s CTE Center:

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.  These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.  The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

Which side is right? Perhaps time will tell on that matter.

One thing we’ll know for sure far sooner is whether or not Bettman’s salary cap estimates prove accurate for the 2015-16 season. He once again predicted that the ceiling with rise to about $71 million, according to the AP.

NHL GMs can be excused for being a little concerned up until the moment that figure is confirmed, though.