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Derek Boogaard Received 'Thousands' Of Pills From NHL Doctors

Former Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard has been dead for over a year, but his name still resonates as we find out more and more about the circumstances that helped lead to his death from an accidental painkiller and alcohol overdose in May of 2011.

According to a report by, painkillers and prescription drugs in general were nothing new to Boogaard by that point. Boogaard received large numbers of prescription pills from team doctors to quell pains that he was suffering and signs point to him being an addict. At times, the various doctors would end up giving him almost 200 pills like Vicodin or other painkilling or sleeping medication in under a month's time. It ended up totaling over 100 prescriptions and 'thousands of pills' in the last few years of his life.

A trove of documents, compiled by Boogaard's father, offers a rare prescription-by-prescription history of the care given to a prominent, physically ailing athlete who struggled with addiction to some of the very drugs the team doctors were providing.

The records reveal the ease with which Boogaard received prescription drugs, often shortly after sending a text message to a team doctor's cellphone and without a notation made in team medical files. They also show the breadth of the drugs being prescribed, from flu medications and decongestants to antidepressants and anti- anxiety pills.

Most striking, though, are the narcotic painkillers and sleeping pills, which Boogaard had a history of abusing.

At the very worst, this shows badly on both Boogaard, who abused the drugs he was given, and the team doctors who continued to give him various prescriptions in staggering amounts. It's unknown if the various team doctors communicated with each other regarding which pills they had prescribed for Boogaard in the past.

Boogaard was diagnosed post-mortem with a brain disease caused by blows to the head called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The sad case of Derek Boogard continues to shine a dark light on the physical side of the NHL.

More on the NHL can be found at SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.