A Minnesota judge has determined that former USA Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich is mentally ill and dangerous, according to a report from the Star Tribune on Wednesday. As a result, Pavelich will be committed to a secure treatment facility indefinitely.
Following an extensive evaluation, psychiatrists have determined that the 61-year-old Pavelich is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is unaware of his own deteriorating mental health, including bouts of delusions and paranoia.
The ruling comes more than a month after Pavelich, 61, was. The former "Miracle on Ice" player was charged with viciously beating a longtime friend with a metal pole this August, causing the victim to suffer cracked ribs, a bruised kidney and a fractured vertebrae. Pavelich said he believed the victim had been spiking his beer throughout the day.
During that trial, Pavelich's family said they believed he was suffering from CTE, a degenerative neurological disorder that often affects athletes who play contact sports, such as hockey and football. The concussions and repeated head trauma often suffered by those athletes have been linked to the development of CTE, which sometimes leads to erratic and violent behavior.
One psychiatrist involved with Pavelich's latest evaluation believes that his condition is due to repeated head trauma suffered over his lifetime.
According to the family, Pavelich has undergone a "total change" in personality and become a virtual recluse since retiring from hockey. They allegedly have urged him to seek help over the past few years but he has refused any sort of treatment.
A judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine his competence to stand trial in October, with the psychiatrist ultimately concluding that Pavelich required "intensive psychiatric treatment with neuroleptic medications."
Pavelich was a key member of the 1980 gold medal-winning Team USA squad, assisting on Mike Eruzione's winning goal in the stunning "Miracle On Ice" semifinal upset of the Soviet Union. He also was a standout at Minnesota Duluth before playing seven seasons in the NHL. He scored 137 goals and tallied 329 points in 355 career NHL games and is still the only American player to score five goals in a single game.