Recently Retired NHL Player Spotlights Mental Health Issues In Hockey
Stephen Johns hung up his skates and is rollerblading across the U.S. and making a movie to bring awareness to depression and anxiety in a sport still trying to raise acceptance of mental health concerns.
Recently retired NHL player Stephen Johns had a history of concussions and realized during a game last year that his hockey career was over.
Depression threatened to take over his life, so Johns, 29, decided to rollerblade across the U.S. to bring awareness to mental health (#mentalmiles).
Yesterday was legitimately one of the best days of my life. From where I was mentally 3 weeks ago to now, I couldn’t help being overcome with emotion. I’m so happy to be doing something productive again. It’s even cooler that this is something way bigger than me. #MentalMiles ✌🏻 pic.twitter.com/MDDIPzH7zf— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) June 25, 2021
Messages about mental health from Johns, who finished his career with the Dallas Stars in June, and current Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner have brought the topic to the forefront among hockey players before the Stanley Cup Final gets underway in Tampa.
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the NHL championship series at Amalie Arena on Monday night.
The deaths of players Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak within a five-month span a decade ago put fighting and head trauma in the NHL on the front burner and began to push mental health to the forefront. But hockey has been seen as slow to address this very specific “upper-body” injury.
An expert with experience in mental health with athletes says hockey is lagging behind other sports in making it a priority for players, coaches and staff.