Former Chicago Blackhawks enforcer Daniel Carcillo says psychedelic drugs helped him battle post-concussion effects

By Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

Retired Chicago Blackhawks enforcer Daniel Carcillo says it took a mind-blowing drug to save his brain — and his life.

"It was the most amazing experience," Carcillo says on the latest edition of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," set to debut at 9 p.m. CST Tuesday on HBO and HBO Max

Carcillo, who sued the NHL over his concussion-related injuries, is among the former athletes on the program extolling the benefits of psychedelic drugs in helping him cope with aftereffects of brain trauma.

The research in this area, correspondent David Scott notes, is "embryonic but intriguing."

"Real Sports" opens its segment with Carcillo in the Peruvian jungle, where under supervision he would receive a potent hallucinogenic cocktail brewed from ayahuasca, a drug that's illegal in much of the world.

Carcillo's nickname as a player was "Car Bomb," which he attributes to "being a psycho on and off the ice and being totally unpredictable."


The winger played three of his nine NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and was part of their 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup championships.

Twice he led the league in penalty minutes and paid a price well beyond what the refs meted out.

Carcillo had seven diagnosed concussions. Unofficially, he says, the number was in the hundreds before he retired in 2015. The damage followed him off the ice.

"I was spiritually, mentally and physically dead inside," Carcillo says on HBO, rattling off a series of debilitating afflictions such as "light sensitivity, slurred speech, headaches, head pressure, insomnia, impulse-control issues, short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, concentration issues."


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