Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: concussions
From Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski:
The National Hockey League has “no desire” to engage in settlement discussions with the players involved in a class action lawsuit that alleges negligence and fraud by the League regarding concussions.
An excerpt from a League memo, distributed to the Board of Governors at their meeting this week in New York and acquired by Yahoo Sports, makes it clear that the NHL feels there is no "smoking gun" that gives the plaintiffs an advantage in the civil case or a path to settlement like in the National Football League’s concussion suit.
From the internal NHL memo:
It's the late shift and this is Paul's blog, not George's, but I'm going to ediatorialize a bit here: for better or worse, the new health care laws in the U.S. will allow someone with a crapton of preexisting health conditions--me--to qualify for health insurance coverage for the first time in eight years, and I'd admittedly been thinking about buying a pair of inline skates to tool around the neighborhood.
But a self-arrested stumble down the stairs taking down the trash a week ago put a scare into me. I suffered a severe concussion around the time my previous insurance coverage expired, and I still deal with some lingering effects. Feeling a little "wobbly" after grabbing myself on the railing was very scary, and that was just dealing with one concussion that went untreated save a precautionary CT scan (I literally got a pamphlet from Garden City Hospital that said, "You have a concussion! Here are some symptoms...").
I don't know if the players who sued the NHL for the lingering effects of concussion damage have a chance in hell of earning an NFL-style payout--I doubt it--but I sure as hell know how scary it is to know that you're not going to be quite the same after having one's "noodle" scrambled.
I think that it's very brave of people like the suit's headliners in Rick Vaive and Gary Leeman (as well as honorary Red Wings Alumni Association skater Darren Banks) to possibly alienate themselves from their NHL veterans' brotherhood and certainly shear any ties between themselves and the league for the sake of trying to delve into murky legal waters.
Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika asked legal experts about the lawsuit, and he found that its chances of succeeding are "foggy" at best:
“I really don’t care about that awareness crap,” [Brooks] Laich said. “To be honest, I’m sick of hearing all this talk about concussions and about the quiet room.
“This is what we love to do. Guys love to play, they love to compete, they want to be on the ice. How do you take that away from someone? We accept that there’s going to be dangers when we play this game. We know that every time we get dressed.
“I don’t know, sometimes it just feels like we’re being babysat a little too much. We’re grown men and we should have a say in what we want to do.”
—Washington’s Brooks Laich, via Chuck Gormley, CSNWashington
*h/t to TSN for pointer
As we all know, Sidney Crosby meets the press this afternoon at 12:30pm. There isn’t a ton of insight into what will be discussed during the presser, but he is slated to give an update on his health after meeting with experts in both Michigan and Georgia following a reoccurance of concussion symptoms in August.
Though there is an update forthcoming, sources have told the Tribune Review’s Rob Rossi that there isn’t expected to be a major announcement regarding change in status. I will be live at the presser, but you can watch the feed below.
From Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star:
Leafs centre Matthew Lombardi has been declared free of concussion symptoms, but might still miss the start of training camp, says GM Brian Burke.
“He is cleared for full activity on the bike,” Burke said in a phone interview. “The last report I got he was doing 20-plus minutes without symptoms. He has been declared symptom-free and now it’s about getting the workload back up.”
continued… with more Leafs talk
From Jim Reyno at Metro London:
There’s been a lot of talk in hockey lately about concussions and their lingering effects, and whether it’s time fighting be banned from the game.
“I don’t know about that,” said Dale Hunter, owner and coach of the London Knights. “It’s in the rules — fighting has been part of hockey for 90 years.”
For 19 of those years, Hunter was a willing participant in that part of hockey in the NHL. Just 5-foot-10 but 200 pounds, in many ways Hunter was a concussion on skates, throwing his weight around (as well as a few lefts and rights) on his way to accumulating 3,563 penalty minutes — second all-time behind Tiger Williams. Consider him an expert on rugged play.
continued… with discussion specific to OHL matters and head shots
The Saskatoon Blades are trying out something new during training camp this week — tracking the force of on-ice hits using helmet-mounted sensors.
Any time a player on the Western Hockey League team is hit, a chip records the strength of the hit and where it happened. The information will be sent back to a researcher at the University of Alberta.
This team says any new information on concussions is a good thing.
“It’s pretty important,” said Connor Cox, a defenceman on the team. “You see lots of guys like [Sidney] Crosby in the NHL. There’s three guys [on the Blades] that had concussions last year. I was one of them, so it’s pretty important to learn a little bit more about it and to see how much you can take before you get a concussion.”
From Adam Proteau at The Hockey News:
So a concussed MMA fighter sits out 90 days, but a concussed NHLer often returns to action the following game, or even the same night. Does that sound to you like a league that can claim to be progressive in its approach to head injuries? If it does, stop reading this column and immediately visit your doctor – you may be concussed yourself.
Now, it’s entirely possible that, even with a much more serious approach to concussion treatment and prevention, Crosby and any of the aforementioned players would’ve been caught up in the sticky web of concussions.
However, the fact of the matter is, had the NHL treated long-since-retired concussion victims as if they were the future of the sport, we might already have had a full-on ban on head shots many seasons ago and far fewer players might be dealing with head injuries today.
Though Ray Shero issued a couple of statements last night via phone call or text to a couple of the newspapers in Pittsburgh, he officially met with the media this afternoon to shed some light on the Sidney Crosby situation.
Not that Shero has ever struck me as a worry wart to begin with, but his demeanor wasn’t that of a general manager who felt that he might be going into the season without his best and brightest star. If anything he came across as optimistic.
“I think he has progressed really well this summer,” Shero said. “He’s happy with his progress. Training camp is a month away, so there’s no expectation for me that he won’t be ready or will be ready. He’s doing his usual routine. He’ll probably be in a week before camp starts, and we’ll evaluate him then to see how he’s doing.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe and Mail:
Sooner or later, the risks outweigh the rewards of playing on. It was the accumulation of multiple concussions that eventually drove the Lindros borthers, Brett and Eric, from the game; and is likely causing some of Marc Savard’s memory loss, a fact reported by ESPN.com over the weekend.
Now, a day after the fact, is far too soon to get an accurate read on what Hamhuis’s intentions might be. In all likelihood, his primary goal will be to recover as quickly as possible and be part of a long and fruitful playoff run with the Canucks, a serious Stanley Cup contender and the first one he’s ever played for.
But concussions can be tricky. Sometimes, five games are enough to get back on track. Other times - as in the case of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby - it can take far longer.
Earlier today, Bob McCown of Fan590 had a discussion about the impact of concussions on NHLers. Audio can be heard here.
And at Sportsnet.ca: “Have players lost respect for each other and the integrity of the game?” The video below tries to answer the question in more detail—
From Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette (via Calgary Herald):
“What we’re saying is that the helmet is the most important piece of performance equipment we have,” Mark Messier said. “So The Messier Project is about trying to change that whole philosophy and the education that goes behind it.”
But the M11 helmet hasn’t been very popular with NHL players (only 12 of them are wearing it this season), partly because of “the look” and possibly because it is marketed as providing extra protection.
“The NHL still continues to be our greatest challenge,” Mary-Kay said. “One of the things we’re really working on is changing the culture of hockey so that head protection becomes a priority. The No. 1 criteria for selecting a helmet should be the protection a player gets and that it fits well to optimize performance, and not just limiting it to the look of the helmet. Part of the culture (in the NHL) is that if you choose a more protective helmet, does that in some way make you a weaker player?”
Adam Proteau at The Hockey News reflects on CBC’s Fifth Estate program which aired last night. The program investigated wrestler Chris Benoit’s life in an attempt to explain the tragedy of last summer.
Yet, instead of focusing on steroid abuse as a possible explanation for the wrestler’s actions, the Fifth Estate spoke with two doctors at the University of North Carolina who examined Benoit’s brain after the murders and came up with an entirely different theory on what caused an otherwise doting father to snap so violently.
Shockingly, the UNC doctors diagnosed Benoit as having the brain of an 80- or 90-year-old person suffering from dementia.
Furthermore, they revealed the results of a study completed on the after-effects of concussions on 3,000 former NFL players. The study demonstrated that, in addition to serious mental and cognitive problems, the ex-football players had to deal with depression – depression that at times led to suicide attempts, or successful suicides – that may be a direct result of repeated concussions.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott likely suffered yet another concussion Saturday, ruling him out of the club’s short-term plans and calling into question his NHL future.
The news yesterday was not good.
“We’ll wait for the doctors to tell us (what’s next),” general manager Scott Howson said. “But we have been told that he’s symptomatic.”
Detroit’s Niklas Kronvall slammed Westcott into the boards late in the game Saturday in Nationwide Arena.
Westcott’s head did not appear to be struck, but his body was jolted.
From the AP via NHL.com,
It took two bouts of dizziness and other symptoms for the determination to be made Wednesday that Gagne sustained at least one concussion, if not two.
“First of all we didn’t know for sure and secondly I wasn’t aware of the repercussions,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “I was under the assumption ... if he’s got a mild concussion, he’s got to be out seven days. That’s not the case.”
Gagne was injured at Florida on Oct. 24 after being hit in the jaw by Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. He sat out four games, but the Flyers never said anything about a concussion. Gagne was said to be dealing with dizziness. Gagne returned to practice after being symptom-free for two days. He followed that with a morning skate the next day on Nov. 5 before dressing for that night’s game at the New York Rangers.
Gagne came through that OK, but didn’t look like himself on the ice. Two nights later, he was hit by Pittsburgh’s Gary Roberts and the symptoms came back.
from the Philadelphia Daily News,
Gagne is at fault for rushing back to the ice. The Flyers are for allowing him to do so, especially since there is growing sentiment within the medical community over whether the NAN guidelines are too lax. Two international conferences in this decade, organized by the International Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee, concluded that any multitiered grading system is flawed because it seeks to assess severity before all symptoms surface.
“First of all, it doesn’t matter how many,” Lindros said. “It’s the severity.”