Recently Nashville Predators popular forward Jordin Tootoo left the ice and checked himself into the NHL and NHL Players' Association Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.
At this point it is not important that the public know what Tootoo is dealing with, but a Globe and Mail editorial hit the nail on the head when it suggested that Tootoo's biggest impact in life will not be a hard hit on the ice, but how he handles the aftermath of his decision to leave the ice.
The term “role model” has become a cliché in sports. But in his case, it fits. Young people in Nunavut really do view Jordin Tootoo as pushing back the boundaries of what they might achieve. He has always taken seen himself in this light. “It’s something I take pride in. Hopefully, more kids can look up to me and say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’” A very human role model, Mr. Tootoo is playing in a game more important than hockey, and if he can succeed, others can, too.
The editorial also shed some very interesting light on what may have convinced Tootoo to seek help:
What made him go for help now? His mother didn’t know, but said she gave him Theo Fleury’s autobiography, Playing With Fire, for Christmas. Mr. Fleury’s substance abuse nearly killed him during his NHL career, and he has gone on to become an eloquent advocate for child protection and support for the addicted. “It seems to me the last person who can see your life going down the tubes is yourself,” the 42-year-old said on Tuesday.
Good luck should be wished upon Jordin Tootoo. Whether he realizes it or not, there are a lot people who need him to win this battle more so than any other.
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