Wade Belak’s mother told CBC News that the family is finding it “extremely difficult to wrap our heads around” her son’s death on Friday. Lorraine Belak also told CBC that her son had battled depression, saying “I think he was taking control of that”. “We didn’t talk about it all the time or a lot.”

Asked about her knowledge of the toll that being an NHL enforcer had on her son’s health. Belak admitted she didn’t know a lot about depression, but added “As far as any head injuries or things like that, he never had any bad concussions that we know of… he had bumps and bruises of course — but no noticeable concussions that we know of”.

On Thursday, Kent Wilson wrote at length about the risk factors associated with an enforcer type role and the damage it can induce on a person’s physical and psychological health. Belak’s verification of her son’s depression confirms what many had speculated, fairly or unfairly, since the news of the 35-year old’s tragic death broke on Wednesday. Rick Rypien, who died on August 15th, also struggled with depression.

You can listen to the entire interview with Lorraine Belak at CBCSports.ca.