A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday that a former member of the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, Mark Pavelich, is mentally ill and dangerous, according to Pam Louwagie of the Minnesota Star Tribune.
The judge ordered the 61-year-old committed to a secure treatment facility.
Pavelich faced criminal charges that he beat a friend with a metal pole after accusing him of "spiking his beer." His friend suffered cracked ribs, a bruised kidney, and a fractured vertebra.
Judge Michael Cuzzo deemed Pavelich incompetent to stand trial based on an expert report, concluding that he was "incapable of participating in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency." The case was put on hold while the state moved to civilly commit him to treatment.
Pavelich's family is convinced he suffers from CTE after repeated concussions and blows to the head sustained during his hockey career. They started to see changes over the last few years but he has refused help. CTE can only be diagnosed after death.
A pair of clinical psychologists who examined Pavelich found him to have post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other conditions, according to the judge's order. Both psychologists considered him to be mentally ill and dangerous.
Psychologist Chris Bowerman found Pavelich to have delusions and paranoia, including a delusion that family, friends, and neighbors tried to poison him.
Psychologist Jacqueline Buffington found he suffers from "mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury with behavioral disturbance (psychotic symptoms, aggression)," and believes his condition is likely related to head injuries suffered over his lifetime.
Pavelich had seven points in seven games during the 1980 Olympics. He assisted on Mike Eruzione's game-winning goal during the U.S.'s famous 4-3 upset victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union. The Americans then went on to defeat Finland to win gold.
Pavelich played five seasons for the New York Rangers and one apiece with the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks. He tallied 329 points in 355 career games and fought nine times, according to hockeyfights.com.
The NHL agreed to a maximum settlement of just under $19 million in its concussion lawsuit last year involving hundreds of players. The league didn't admit to any wrongdoing, however.