The concussion risk in hockey is real

Even more ominous that the likely owners lockout in 5 years, player safety and the risk of concussion will have more potential impact on the game we love.

The players lawsuit against the NHL is trying to achieve the same protection and long term care dollars as we have seen in other sports like the NFL.

Some people believe that reducing the number of fights in the NHL is part of the answer.  And there could be an odd incident occasionally, but this is likely not the problem.

It is all those collisions on the ice.  Especially as players are getting bigger and faster.

Scott Wheeler wrote an excellent article about the mental game inside concussions.

He shares his own story with concussions:

Sometimes, things can change in an instant. A slim 13-year-old Grade 7 can step out of his classroom and be struck by the bigger, bulkier, stronger Grade 8 sprinting bullishly down the hall. The Grade 8, shoulder at the level of the Grade 7’s head, can make clean contact with the side of the younger boy’s skull, forcing it to snap and spin back into the brick wall behind him before he crumples to the floor.

Head meets shoulder, wall, and floor, in the blink of an eye.

Maybe, even, the younger boy could be knocked out by one of the three blows, eyes rolling back into his head.

Maybe, even, an ambulance might need to be called in order to pick up the trembling boy, only the whites in his eyes showing.

Maybe, even, when the boy regains consciousness, his vision and depth blur in and out for hours on end while he is strapped to a backboard with a neck brace at a busy hospital by helpless, apologetic paramedics just following procedures.

Maybe, years later, after nearly half a decade of blackouts and neck pain, the boy could grow to be symptom-free, only a hand tremor to show for it.

Maybe, even, it could have been his fifth concussion. This time, it was really serious.

The younger boy was me.

How do players cope?

You can hear Eric Lindros thoughts in this NHL video on concussions.

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