NHL: Paul Kariya Retires

“The thing that I worry about,” Kariya said in an interview, “is that you’ll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at centre ice. Can you imagine what would happen to the league if a guy dies at centre ice?”

Paul Kariya was a super-star of his time, after sitting out the last year due to post-concussive events he has decided that 989 points in 989 games was good enough to call it a career.  In a VERY candid way by calling out the NHL for what he sees as a major issue with the sport, article from Mail and Globe and Eric Duhatscheck;

Kariya believes that because there are no visible outward symptoms of concussion, NHL teams tend to play them down to their players. He contrasted it to the treatment levels accorded to a player who suffered a major knee injury.

“If it’s an ACL/MCL tear, right away, the doctor, the player and the management, they all know he’s out for six-to-12 months. There’s no question about it. There’s a rehabilitation protocol that you follow and that’s what they do.

“With concussions, the guy walks into the dressing room the next day and they ask, ‘how are you doing? Are you okay to go tomorrow?’ It’s totally backward. I had (two major hip reconstructions) and I’ll take that any day over a concussion.”

A very valid point by someone who has been through the experience, too many times.  Even during his extensive rehab process that included; ballroom dancing, yoga, supplements (fish oil) and even a hyperbaric chamber the results were limited;

“After two-and-a-half months, I saw a 40-50 per cent improvement, but the scans were still showing brain damage. After five months, I was up to 80 cent. As spring came around, and teams started calling, I went back to the doctor, but he said, ‘Paul, there’s just no way you can play again. You’re still too vulnerable to another concussion.’”

He is exactly right is calling out the league, head hits should not be at the discretion of the officials, it should be automatic if seen, period, like the IIHF.  Stiff penalties should follow, and as Kariya said “two games is not enough”.  Our sentiments could not be more in agreement;

“Hopefully, things will change.”

Thanks for the link; @ewheeler1976 and @rivda

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