Ex Wing Joe Murphy - homeless because of concussions

Submitted by BornInAA on October 10th, 2018 at 8:08 PM

Very well done freep (?) article on Joe Murphy. NHL has heads (sorry) in the sand even more than NFL about concussions.

Really sad tale, supposedly went back into a game after a skull fracture.





October 10th, 2018 at 8:23 PM ^

Fantastic story. So sad that after that hit nobody checked to see if he was ok. Crazy to think how fast like can come at you too. I hope he ends up getting the medical help needed. 


October 10th, 2018 at 9:17 PM ^

powerful and sad story.  Glimmer of hope at the end he's getting the help he needs.


Just to correct the op, its not clear how Murphy has ended up homeless, and its not 100% clear he has CTE as he's never been properly diagnosed.  Both the author and the reader can do a lot of reading between the lines here though.

I got stuck on his admission of using meth, that stuff can seriously fuk up a person forever.


October 11th, 2018 at 8:05 AM ^

At this time, there is no valid diagnosis for CTE in a living individual, although imaging studies are underway to determine the CT/MRI signals indicative of CTE. Right now, diagnosis requires autopsy evaluation of the brain, which complicates the imaging studies (to confirm diagnosis, someone has to die which means any study will be small and take time)

Hold This L

October 10th, 2018 at 10:05 PM ^

The concussion rate in women’s hockey is higher than men’s hockey and professional football. There’s no hitting allowed in women’s hockey. It really is just bad luck a lot of the time. I’ve had about 4 or 5 concussions from hockey. A couple minor, a couple major. 


October 10th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

wow...honestly, I read the header, first thought was the typical...blah blah rich pro athlete squanders millions and now blames something else...yeah couldn't be more wrong after reading that one. Just sad to see a guy who played at such a high level, literally reduced to a shell of memories. Stuff like this makes me really question contact sports as a whole. I think it's worse that his family, teammates etc have even tried to help and he refuses it...that's the scary thing. It's not as if he's burned his bridges and left himself here. Just wow.

Bando Calrissian

October 10th, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

This is basically a longform version of a special TSN did a little while ago for Canadian television. What blows me away is that he was able to find work as a coach and GM only five years ago, and today he's basically out of his mind. Murphy's story is heartbreaking.



October 11th, 2018 at 7:20 AM ^

so really is it the chicken or the egg with him? Yeah I 100% agree drugs will destroy a person...but did he turn to the drugs as part of the CTE/head injury, whatever is going on? Not one to generally 'blame' or look for an excuse but his seems to be by the book one thing led to another...who knows, sad any way you look at it.


October 11th, 2018 at 8:12 AM ^

I think the conversation in hockey gets left behind because of culture and finite lineups. Hockey players (even moreso than football players) are taught to tough it up and keep playing through basically anything. This likely extends to head injuries and would require some sort of formalized concussion protocol to be enacted. College hockey has cracked down on any hits to the head (match penalty), but that seems like a reaction rather than a solution.

Additionally, the finite lineup of 18 skaters per night makes losing any player to injury devastating. Voluntarily removing a player who claims to be fine is not in a coach's plan during the game. It would be interesting to see leagues begin to experiment with an emergency 19th skater to be used in case of concussion/injury (mimicking in some ways the emergency 3rd goaltender). Having that extra skater would allow coaches to send players with potential concussions to get treatment in game. Thoughts?


October 11th, 2018 at 6:21 PM ^

Very sad to hear.


On a related note, I heard that, like hockey, soccer is often overlooked for its concussions.  The concussion rate in soccer at some levels is actually higher than in football, but because soccer is perceived to be a less violent sport it's not talked about.


October 11th, 2018 at 9:14 PM ^

On VERY rare occasions, you see a kid playing for MSU and become a fan.  Murphy was the one for me.  He could hit full speed in 3 strides, and was one of the better college hockey players I have watched.  Sad to see what his life has become.  Hoping he gets the help he deserves.


October 12th, 2018 at 12:14 PM ^

I think concussions were never being talked about in any sport. Football had major issues with CTE and prominent suicides (Seau, Sean Taylor) and then had a major lawsuit. Soccer definitely has its fair share of concussion worries. Former MLS MVP and USMNT star Taylor Twellman retired in his prime due to concussion issues at age 30 and has already donated his brain to science upon his death (he's 38 right now).

There has been some conscious efforts at lower levels to reduce concussions by avoiding headers. The play has multiple risks. One is the ball careening off the head at high speeds (which some have tried to remedy through headgear that cushions the forehead). Additionally, these are the balls that get contested most and end up with really bad collisions (or punches in the head from a charging keeper). Concussions in general need to be addressed and are an unfortunate part of every sport.