Robin Lehner announces concussion to dispel rumour about mental health concern

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) blocks a shot during an NHL hockey training camp Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

Robin Lehner did not have to disclose that he has a concussion, one that has kept him out of the Vegas Golden Knights' lineup since the second week of February.

But Lehner chose to speak candidly about his specific injury to dispel a reckless rumour: that his absence is related to mental health issues similar to ones he previously detailed in an open letter with The Athletic.

"Teams don't usually say those things (reporting specific injuries), but I thought it was important to say that because I've heard those rumours where, 'Oh, maybe he's back in rehab,'" Lehner told

Lehner's open letter with The Athletic was published in September of 2018, when he described his own addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as thoughts of suicide. In August of the following year, he showcased a new mask design with "#SameHere" on the side, indicating his intent to unify people struggling with mental health issues and "normalize how universal this topic is."

Despite his openness about his own struggles, Lehner felt the need to clarify that his current ailment is a physical injury and not a matter of mental health. He knows as well as anyone what stigma comes with disclosing mental health issues.

"I said this many times before, without going on a rant, the stigma around mental health is insane," he said. "Everyone deals with it; I don't care what anyone says. Everyone deals with it at some form or another during their life. Right now, during (COVID-19), a lot of people do.

"That's also why the stigma is hard for the progress of people getting better because people have to hide it before people talk and say these things. I think I should get the benefit of the doubt because I've been honest with it. If I had those issues again, which are not happening, I would be honest about it."

Lehner has a 2.96 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage in five starts this season. Since his concussion-related absence began following a Feb. 7 start, teammate Marc-Andre Fleury is 11-5-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

On Wednesday, Lehner noted that he's been skating for a bit and is ready to go when the team decides to call on him again.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I feel ready to play and it's a good mental boost for me to be around this great group of guys again."

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