Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – The Pain Of Substance Abuse

To be sure we all experience pain in life.  Whether it is the broken bone, or the broken heart.  Pain is real, and come in many form.  Many of us deal with pain in different way.

Some of us internalize the pain, some of us talk, some seek treatment from medical professional, and some seek to numb the pain with legal and illegal substance.

It is nothing new to our game or to life.  This has been the way since the beginning of time.

Today I read the story of Chad Miller.  I do some research and see what I can learn about this young man and this tragic set of circumstance.  Unfortunately I can find no answer that make sense.

I call some friend of mine who have seen these type of circumstance, and other who have overcome substance abuse issue of their own.  No one can provide the simple answer.  No one can provide anything other than one common statement.

Prevention is only possible with education.

Every person I speak with say the same thing, not enough is being done to educate the young player, or the young person in general, about the danger of substance use and abuse.  Addiction is a problem that is not confined to a troubled life, or environmental influence.  Addiction is a medical condition, and like any other condition, treatment is the only potential cure.

To be sure the Chad Miller story is sad.  It is sad because it might have been prevented, and it is sad because he was not only talented hockey player, but a young man with his whole life in front of him.

For many year, many of us have called for mandatory drug testing for all athlete in all sport.  For many year, Union, player, and parent have fought for the right to privacy, and the right to make their own choice on their own time.

While many organization would like to have the testing, many will not because of those push back forces.  Is it not time for organization to make their own choices an implement policy that say if you want to play here you must submit to testing?  If not, you don’t play here.  If league and governing body are not willing to make the rule, nothing say that team can not make their own rule.

How many time must we read this bad news before we take the step to protect the people first, not the athlete on the roster?  How many life must be sacrificed before every program take the step to prevention or intervention?

While many may say people make their own choice in life, I say we have the obligation to help people make the better choice.  My thought and prayer to the Miller family, I can not imagine what you are going through today.


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