Morning Free Association: October 19, 2021

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On Sunday, the Boston Globe broke the news that the toxicology report from Jimmy Hayes’ autopsy came back. The official finding was “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.” Dan Shaughnessy spoke with his family who want to spread the word about opiate dependency.

Most people think that there are always obvious outward signs of chemical dependency but other than his father having had addiction problems in the past and knowing some of the more subtle signs, no one knew about Jimmy Hayes’ struggles. Apparently a late career injury that came with a substantial amount of pain led to his taking opiates for pain management and he couldn’t kick the habit. His wife stated she had no idea he was going through this addiction after seeking treatment for it at an earlier time.

“I was completely shocked,’’ said Kristen. “I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs] . . . It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity and I was shocked to hear that it was that . . . He never showed any signs of a struggle at home.’’

Anyone going through this addiction may not be able to kick it on their own. Jimmy’s father Kevin, also a recovering addict, assisted him into getting in treatment. Like everyone else around Jimmy, he thought those dependency days were in his past.

“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s get you some help.’ He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery, I thought. But this [expletive] is so powerful.’’

Jimmy’s younger brother Kevin is dedicating his season to his brother’s memory. He’s torn up about the fact that his brother passed far too young at 31 and that he would do anything he could for anyone else such was his giving spirit. The Boston Bruins, for whom Jimmy played 2 seasons, are wearing a tribute to him on the helmets this season.

One doesn’t have to exhibit the stereotypical signs of addiction to be going through it. Nor should they be maligned as having a moral issue for it: anyone can become addicted to opiate derived pain medication and the synthetic versions like fentanyl. It wasn’t Jimmy’s fault that he took what was prescribed by team doctors and that he wasn’t able to kick the habit. It’s been clear for a while that once their playing time is over, athletes are often neglected by the sport and their leagues. It’s happened too much in the past. Hopefully Jimmy’s unfortunate passing and his family’s telling his story will make these sport leagues more compassionate toward former players and look into new treatment options for current ones.

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Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Evander Kane! Now there’s a guy who knows how to shoot himself in the foot!

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

Man, what a horrible dude Kane is. Just when you think you’ve heard the last of his poor behavior for a while, and you start to re-evaluate “hey, am I being too hard on the guy?”, he’s gotta double down on the crappiness.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Morning all. It was definitely a gut punch when I read the Shaughnessy article on Sunday having recently lost my brother to addiction. This part really hit close to home because this was very much Steve. He was always the first to help a friend in need:

Jimmy helped everyone. Some of the stories I’ve been hearing. He never said no. [Former Bruin] Torey Krug told me they used to go to Children’s Hospital. Jimmy’d fall in love with a kid, then go back a week later. And a week later. He was just a wonderful kid, but this addiction [expletive] is just so powerful. If I had a formula that could tell people.

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Addiction is in every family. In every person to some degree. It’s very difficult to know when or why a person is struggling.

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Morning,

Yeah, very sad, that. You hear more and more deaths related to Fentanyl.

Sunny and 19C today. Summer is back!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Good morning!
Sad to hear that Jimmy Hayes was struggling with addiction and all that goes with it. I feel all major sports fall short in this area.