Kukla's Korner

Primeau And Who Else?

The boss pointed out this radio interview with Keith Primeau the other day, who discussed his views on the whole hits-to-the-head thing. It’s one of the most outspoken things I’ve heard from a well-known player and it’s clear that his view is strong and definite—and it makes me wonder why we haven’t heard from further players this way.

After all, this isn’t just their livelihood, it’s their life (as Primeau points out). As much as we debate about a potential penalty for hits to the head, I think we can all agree that we don’t want to see guys who are three, four, five years out of retirement still dealing with post-concussion syndrome. As a refresher, here are just some of the wide range of symptoms you can get from post-concussion syndrome, and remember that there’s no definite stopping point with any of them:

-Headaches
-Dizziness
-Nausea
-Double vision
-Earaches
-Aggressiveness/anger
-Anxiety
-Depression
-Memory gaps

This isn’t a post to advocate or condemn a penalty for hits to the head. Rather, what strikes me as odd is that so many high-profile, well-respected guys have had their careers affected by this. I don’t understand why they haven’t started some sort of dialogue between their brethren on this topic. No one understands the NHL life better than its own players, and no one understands the terrible effects of post-concussion syndrome better than someone whose gone through it (or is going through it).

Think about all of the significant players whose careers have been affected by post-concussion syndrome. Besides Primeau, there’s Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontaine, Adam Deadmarsh, and more. Why are these players not leading the debate about this situation? Why is it that we only get forceful talk when radio hosts bring it up to a retired player is brought on for an interview following a Mike Richards hit?

Part of me thinks that it’s the hockey culture of being a team player and not rocking the boat. You just don’t get a lot of outspoken comments from guys like Kariya or Deadmarsh—they’ll tell you what they think when asked but they’re not gonna make a significant announcement that condemns hits to the head or claims that hits to the head should be about respect, not rules.

Of course, the players can’t even get their own association in order, so I suppose an organized fruitful debate on head shots and concussions would be hoping for too much. It’s just too bad that if this eventually happens, other players will likely already have had their careers affected.

Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: concussions, keith+primeau

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