CASTLE ROCK – He doesn’t wake up puking his guts out every morning anymore. He doesn’t have to wear sunglasses all the time, even indoors, like he used to. The life-threatening seizures that would frequently hospitalize him haven’t happened for two years now. His eyes, which once had a glazed, faraway look to them, seem clear and focused.
Scott Parker is kicking life’s ass again. Once one of the baddest dudes on the ice in the National Hockey League, Parker was knocked down harder than any punch he ever took by concussion symptoms that all started with a loose puck to the head. His post-hockey life, after a career that saw him play for the Avalanche and San Jose Sharks, became an intolerable witch’s brew of pain, depression, and despair. Many around him, most especially his wife, Francesca, and son, D.J., feared he would die the same kind of tragic death too many other bare-knuckle hockey fighters and other athletes have in recent years.
“We almost lost him a couple of times,” says D.J., sitting next to his parents on Tuesday afternoon. “It was close.”