Lehner responds to rumors about absence: 'The stigma around mental health is insane'

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner disputed the notion that his month-long absence from the team was due to a decline in his mental health Wednesday, revealing that he was suffering from the third concussion of his career.

“Yeah, I did hear it,” Lehner said regarding rumours related to his absence. “That’s the only reason why I’m telling you guys that I had a concussion right now. It’s the nature of society. I said this many times before, without going on a rant, the stigma around mental health is insane.

“I think I should get the benefit of the doubt from it because I’ve been honest with it. If I had those issues again, which are not happening, I would be honest about it. It’s unfortunate because a mental health problem is no different from a knee problem or a shoulder problem or something like that. It’s treatable, except the stigma makes it harder for people who struggle with mental health stuff.”

Lehner was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD and PTSD. The goaltender revealed in 2018 that he had previously struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism, and was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance at the end of the 2018-19 season.

The former Vezina Trophy finalist was removed from the lineup prior to a Feb. 11 contest against the Anaheim Ducks and missed the Golden Knights' last 17 games as a result of the concussion.

"That's why I’m honest and saying I had a concussion,” Lehner said. “Teams usually don’t say those things, but I thought it was important to say that, because I’ve heard those rumors that, ‘Oh, maybe he’s back at rehab, or what not,’ but it is what it is.”

Kudos to Lehner for continuing to be a vocal and transparent advocate for mental health, in a climate where players are only beginning to feel comfortable opening up about any issues they may be encountering off the ice.

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