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The Imprint

LTown News

The Imprint

The Concussion Epidemic in the NHL

Photo Credit: Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

Concussion; an injury to the brain, often resulting from a blow to the head that can cause temporary disorientation, memory loss, or unconsciousness. It’s that simple. Concussions are affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year, but due to a recent spike, they have been brought to light, especially in the NHL. The Mayo Clinic says that athletes should not return to play until symptoms go away. But there is one problem with that; it’s being ignored. Whether it’s done for the love of the game, or mistreatment by doctors, concussion handlings have to be dealt with better, and with more precaution.
Sidney Crosby is arguably the greatest athlete in modern sports, let alone of all time. By the age of 23, he had won the Rocket Richard trophy (most goals), the Art Ross trophy (most points), raised the Stanley Cup as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and won the gold medal for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Going into the 2011 season, Crosby was unstoppable. He led the league in Goals by the end of December, going into the NHL Winter Classic. Towards the end of the second period, Crosby, while looking down, took a shot from opposing player David Steckel, directly to his head. Crosby played the rest of the game and the next game too. But during the next game, Crosby took another blow to head, officially sidelining him with a concussion. Since January 5th, 2011, Sidney Crosby sat out 10 months until he would return. But he was only six games in before his symptoms came back. After then, Crosby has not played. Recently, Crosby has been diagnosed with soft tissue tearing in his neck, a possible cause of concussion symptoms. Whether it’s that he has a serious concussion, or a misdiagnosis, Sidney Crosby has missed too much hockey.
In Crosby’s case, his concussion has only affected a year of his career. Others have not been so lucky. Mike Richter, Stu Grimson, Keith Primeau, Matt Barnaby, Pat Lafointe, and most notably, Eric Lindros all had careers cut short. Lindros was number one pick in the 1991 draft. He was a brutal hockey player, known for his ability to score. In Lindros’ 1998 campaign, he suffered two concussions, putting him out for 20 games. The next season, Lindros suffered three more concussions before the playoffs, including one in rehab. During the playoffs, he received yet another concussion. Eventually Lindros was traded to New York, where he played healthy till 2003, when he suffered his 8th concussion. After that, Lindros never was himself, eventually leading to his retirement in 2007. He was only 34 when he retired.
Concussions are serious; over 200,000 athletes are injured a year from them. The debate is up in the air. Is it the leagues fault for not imposing harsh punishments? Or is it the players, who have to show more class on the ice then they are as of now. I think we all can agree that hockey’s physicality is what draws us to the game, but does it need to be this physical? Perhaps immediate ejection for any shots to the head would be a good idea. Perhaps stricter regulations on safety equipment should be enforced. Perhaps we should just deal with concussions, and understand the risks of professional hockey. All these questions NEED to be answered, before more superstars like Sidney Crosby and Eric Lindros are permanently put out of the game we all love.

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    JessicaMar 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Sid the Kid has a while to go before he’s the gtsareet player in the world.But all I gotta say is, it’s about damn time. I haven’t been able to watch hockey on TV for forever been surviving on Yahoo! and Versus online broadcasts and whatever live streams I can scrounge up. Three cheers for the Jan. 1 game! No wonder Fleury was pissed when he got injured.

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