Boynton: I Should Have Spoken Up Sooner

The former NHL player discussed his battle with anxiety and depression, which he believes stems from repeated head trauma

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 19, 2018 - 11:35 am

USA Today Images


For many years, the NHL, like any other professional sport, has had its fair share of remarkable and empowering moments.

In contrast to many other sports, though, hockey has also been consumed with instances of violence and brutality, and this destructive behavior can take its toll on players.

Detailing his recent struggles with anxiety, depression and other personal demons since retiring from the NHL back in 2011, former Stanley Cup champion Nick Boynton dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his Players’ Tribune column, which was released last week. In it, he meticulously elaborated on his darkest experiences due to repeated head trauma that he suffered during his time in the rink.

“My darkest days – I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” Boynton said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s just something that is so overwhelming. Physical pain is nothing to me. This just takes it to such a different level.”

In his piece, Boynton stated that he sustained at least eight confirmed concussions during his time in the NHL – and that while the league never addressed the issue regarding head injuries, he hopes that he and other retired players, such as Dan Carcillo, can change this stigma by speaking up now.

“I sat through so many meetings at the start of every year – not one informational session on brain injuries,” Boynton said. “Looking back now, it’s embarrassing, but I should have been smarter and stronger at the time to stand up and make my voice heard. I lived with the fact that it took me this long to talk about it, but that’s what I got to deal with it. Hopefully somehow between me and Dan Carcillo and the other guys speaking up, some kind of changes are made.”

Since being introduced to a Brain Plasticity Clinic in Orlando, Florida, Boynton has been receiving the treatment that he needs, firmly restoring his determination to not only move forward, but also to spread  awareness on the issue.

“My days have been a lot better since then,” Boynton said. “It’s a treatment that guys don’t know is out there. It was little things, but it made such a big difference and it gave me a bit of hope. This gets my story out there and it gives me some purpose to get better, find answers, and help other people.”

Despite dealing with the challenges of publicly speaking out about his condition, Boynton believes that it is necessary.

“Trust me – it’s so difficult to speak out,” he said. “If I help somebody open up about something, then I’ve done a good thing, and I hope more of that comes from telling my story.”