Boxer’s death could have been prevented, says friend
Adam Braidwood, right, knocks out Tim Hague during the KO 79 boxing event at the Shaw Centre in Edmonton, June 16. Postmedia Network
Tim Hague’s death could have been prevented had more attention been paid to the boxer’s history of concussions, says a close friend.
“Tim’s life probably would have been spared and he would have spent Father’s Day with his son Brady and that is a fact,” Kris LaBelle, a mixed martial arts commentator and comedian, said Monday.
Hague, 34, died Sunday after suffering a brain hemorrhage in a boxing match against former Edmonton Eskimo Adam Braidwood on Friday in Edmonton. He was a single father to an eight-year-old son, Brady, and taught Grade 4 at École Bellevue School in Beaumont, about 30 km south of Edmonton and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta-Augustana. He also performed comedy in his spare time.
According to LaBelle, Hague was concussed April 7 in a Lethbridge MMA bout against Jared Kilkenny and had been showing signs of brain injury.
“It saddens me to think that this fight with Adam Braidwood was even commissioned,” said LaBelle, noting knockouts Hague endured while fighting in the UFC. “His closest friends knew — we’ve always known for a past few years — that Tim shouldn’t have taken another head shot or another blow or have his brain rattled the way it was.”
Rob Smyth, deputy manager for citizen services, said the city will be conducting a third-party review of the event. Who will lead the review has not yet been determined and there is no policy in place to make the selection.
There is no timeline for when the review might be complete.
Asked if the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission has the city’s support, Smyth said the commission is appointed by council and that “ultimately council leads that work.”
The commission reports to the city’s community services committee once a year and conducts internal reviews after every combative sports event.
Pat Reid, the commission’s executive director, did not respond to the Edmonton Sun’s requests for comment Monday.
Alberta is the only province in the country that does not have a provincial commission to regulate combative sports. A report from the commission in 2014 recommended the government form one.
LaBelle said Hague was proud of being a teacher and that Brady looked up to him for it.
“This is a tragedy for everyone — his family, his friends and the school community that he was such an important part of,” Black Gold Regional Schools said in a statement.
According to LaBelle, many current and former fighters show signs of potential brain injury; he said more consideration needs to be given to the health and safety of fighters.
“I believe there is an epidemic that is about to come into the forefront if it’s not addressed now,” said LaBelle.
“If there had been more diligence in regard to Tim’s health, this tragedy would have been prevented, that I can guarantee you.”
A crowdfunding campaign for funeral expenses and other costs had raised over $20,000 by Monday afternoon.
Hague was described by his friend as gracious and humble.
“He was the epitome of a fighter.”