Todd Bertuzzi reveals his shocking struggle with mental illness

todd bertuzzi mental illness

Former NHLer, Todd Bertuzzi, was known as a big, tough hockey player during his career. Beneath that rough exterior, there is a hidden side to Bertuzzi, according to Sportsnet's Megan Stewart.

Bertuzzi chose today to reveal his struggle with mental illness because it is Bell Let's Talk day, where people from around the world are encouraged to talk about their struggles with mental illnesses to eliminate the stigma.

I remember sitting at the Cactus Club and, all of a sudden, I started getting the sweats really, really bad. All of a sudden, my heart started going like crazy and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I kind of got scared. I had no clue what any of that was. I was naive to any of that stuff. I was a hockey player. I was supposed to be a superhero or this big tough thing and all this.

He didn't realize it at the time that he was having a panic attack. This was only the beginning of many dark years for Bertuzzi.

Many nights, just sitting there crying for no reason and not understanding what is going on … and then that’s when I had to retire and walk away from the game. That’s when things even escalated even more. I really secluded myself to just my house, my room and it was one of those things — I could never shut off my brain, it was just going and going and going.

Obviously being in the hockey business, I see what is going on and what has happened in the last little while with opioids and depression and all that. The more I am around a lot of the older players and read the books and hear the stories, it seems like it’s a common occurrence in our business. I’m hoping if anyone is going through that or is feeling like that, there is always someone there you can speak to.

Todd Bertuzzi is one of many hockey players who have struggled with mental illness. If you know someone struggling, listen to their issues.

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