Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/02/09 at 09:24 PM ET
TORONTO (April 2, 2009) – After a career cut short by concussions, former NHLer Keith Primeau speaks exclusively to Rogers Sportsnet about his decision to donate his brain to science after he dies.
Hockeycentral Leafs Edition will air the riveting interview between Connected reporter Arash Madani and the 37-year-old Primeau Friday, April 3rd at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Primeau discusses his decision to donate his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute in Massachusetts and how he got to this point.
“I think the beginning of my demise goes back to the playoff situation back in 2000,” said Primeau, who was with the Philadelphia Flyers at the time. “I got laid out at centre ice and got carried off on a stretcher. I stayed overnight in a Pittsburgh hospital, only to return two nights later against New Jersey. And that was ultimately the beginning of my demise.”
Primeau suffered his first official concussion and missed 21 games in the 2003-04 season when he played with the Philadelphia Flyers. In the 2004 playoffs he suffered two more head injuries, but managed to play in 18 games that post-season. The final blow came two years later on Oct. 25 when Primeau, then 34, was concussed again after a hit from Montreal’s Alexander Perezhogin. He missed the rest of that season and in September 2006 was finally forced to retire.
Madani says Primeau hopes his decision will aid in the research to help others avoid the pain he suffered as a professional hockey player. “It really appeared in our time together that his sincere hope is to raise awareness about head injuries and their consequences,” said Madani. “He hopes that with the donation of his brain from science, future generations can learn of the unknown from head trauma and live a better life.”
The Sports Legacy Institute is dedicated to studying the effects of concussions and other sports related brain injuries in order to maximize the safety and vitality of all athletes who participate in contact and collision sports around the globe.
Sportsnet will also air Primeau’s interview on the late editions of Connected at 10 p.m. (ET)/10 p.m. (PT), in addition to airing it on Hockeycentral Saturday on April 4 at 6 p.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (PT).
Primeau retired from the NHL in 2006 after a 15-year career. He was drafted by the Detroit Red-Wings third-overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Primeau played six seasons in Detroit where he participated in his only Stanley Cup Finals appearance, a losing cause to the New Jersey Devils in 1995. Prior to the 1996-1997 season, Primeau was dealt to the Hartford Whalers. After the Whalers moved over to Carolina, the former Red-Wing was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000. During the 2000-2001 season, Primeau achieved a career best in goals (34) and tied a career-high in points (73).
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