Many NHL Players Coming Back From Concussion


If you are a casual follower of sports then you for sure know the plight of Sidney Crosby and his long comeback from his concussion he sustained on New Years Day.  Recently he has been doing “much better” according to sources and believes that he is much closer to a return to full go;

Sidney Crosby believes he is getting closer to being cleared for contact.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ star was pleased after going through another trouble-free practice Monday, a day after taking part in a scrimmage in which hits were banned.

“Obviously, the more good days you have, the nearer you get, and, hopefully, we’ll get there shortly,” said Crosby, who is recovering from a concussion that occurred more than eight months ago.

However there is a huge difference between practice in a controlled setting, where no hitting is allowed, and an uncontrolled game.  It would be a massively different story if the NHL were to ban shots to the head, but that is a rant for a different day.  The reason you know about “Sid The Kid” so well is that he is not only the face of a franchise but the NHL itself.

Is Crosby the only one dealing with such issues?  The answer is an emphatic no.  Below are other players in the NHL using the off-season to get healed up after concussion.

David Perron, St. Louis Blues

Perron got a concussion in November. Just today, he reported to the Blues and met with reporters. However, he is not ready to practice. He is not completely symptom-free and only has been doing light workouts, something the Penguins captain was doing just weeks after he was diagnosed Jan. 6. Perron hopes to begin increasing what he can do physically.

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Marc Staal, New York Rangers

Staal has missed time in training camp with headaches related to a February concussion and met with specialists on Thursday and Friday. He practiced Sunday morning, but then was scheduled to have an acupuncture treatment and did not speak with reporters.

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Matthew Lombardi, Toronto Maple Leafs

One day at a time. That is how Matthew Lombardi has been living his life for the past 11 months. You wake up without suffering a headache and you move on. You exercise without becoming dizzy and you move on. You keep making baby steps, trying not to look too far ahead or move too fast.

“Just take your time,” said Lombardi, who has not played an NHL game since suffering a concussion on Oct. 13.

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Peter Mueller, Colorado Avalanche

For the first time in quite a while, Colorado Avalanche forward Peter Mueller’s focus is on hockey instead of his head.

So antsy for the start of training camp Saturday, Mueller was one of the first to arrive at the rink, eager to resume his career after missing an entire season with a concussion.

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As you can see there is more than just Sidney Crosby, mismanagement of concussions is a systemic problem in hockey, as it is in all sports.  The NHL has been better about finding and dealing with the injury, this perhaps will translate to lower numbers next season.

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One thought on “Many NHL Players Coming Back From Concussion

  1. Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, Licensed Psychologist September 27, 2011 / 14:14

    The lyrics from “Where have all the flowers gone?” seem to aptly apply again to the NHL players past and present…

    “When will they ever learn?”

    ———————————————————————–

    From the past… Brett Lindos and Mike Richter

    see their retirement comments re the adverse implications from the multiple concussions they suffered
    ————————————————————————

    Below are excerpts from Brady (2004) and related unpublished material:

    1- Brett Lindos

    Brett Lindos, former NHL player whose professional career ended at the youthful age of 19 due to the cumulative effect of multiple concussions, offered a comparable viewpoint and related insight into the need to take concussions seriously.

    “As a young athlete, I thought I was made of rubber, extremely resilient and certainly
    invincible….I learned that the brain, unlike a muscle, cannot be ‘rehabbed’ time and time
    again. Athletes at all levels must realize their vulnerability, particularly the risks of
    concussions” (Fuerst, 1997, p. 3).

    2- Mike Richter

    Furthermore, NY Ranger NHL goalie Mike Richter recently was not medically cleared to resume play and thus had a forced retirement from professional hockey thrust upon him. His premature retirement in the summer of 2003 was due to his history of concussions and current presenting concussion symptoms that have lasted for the past 10-month period. Richter’s numerous accomplishments included being named a three-time NHL All Star, and in 1997 he was one of 12 players named to the all-time USA Hockey Team. At a related news conference, Richter shared his personal experience in attempting to deal with his ongoing concussion symptoms. Excerpts of Richter’s September 4th, 2003, press conference transcript may be found below. At this news conference the former goalie said:

    “The last ten months have been very difficult both physically and emotionally.
    Living with this injury on a daily basis and coming to terms with its implications,
    for both my career and life, have been challenging. One moment you think you
    can play forever, and a short while later you are praying that the rest of your life is
    not compromised. So I say today that when I feel I am unprepared, I mean that I
    am still in a bit of shock, I did not expect to miss a game let alone the rest of my
    career. I suppose that’s a roundabout way of saying, I’m a little bit in denial ” (p1).

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