Diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia shortly after the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning season, the former Blackhawks defenceman is now working to raise dyslexia awareness and pass new legislation for a disability that concerns an estimated 43 million Americans and eight million Canadians. He has won another few battles along the way, overcoming lifelong self-esteem struggles and alcohol-related late-career issues.
Sopel revealed that his image as a gifted NFL player with 600+ games on his track record helped him a lot along with his awareness crusade.
“It’s definitely a conversation starter,” he said. “As I walk through the door, I don’t look like your typical politician, so we definitely talk about that and I give them a little background and history.”
Yet Sopel remains driven by a cause that he’s realized is a lot bigger, in many ways, than hockey. “Every time you go up there, it’s something new, and it’s still kind of mind-blowing that I am there,” Sopel said. “But in the same breath, my story and what I’m about, it’s not about me. It’s about everybody else that is struggling with dyslexia.”
It still affects Sopel, too, and it always will. But through the recently formed Brent Sopel Foundation and the encouragement of countless affected children — who reached out in the aftermath of his heartfelt 2017 Players’ Tribune article — Sopel’s campaign to spread awareness has evolved into a campaign for political change.
Follow the link to read the full piece about Brent Sopel's actions to champion helping those with dyslexia while engaging with federal politicians to improve awareness of dyslexia and the impact it has on individuals and society. "Nine years after Cup win, Brent Sopel has become a dyslexia champion and political activist" by Ben Pope from the Chicago Sun Times.