I’m an expert on Hockey Concussions. No, I’m not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I also didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I did sustain a hockey concussion that warranted a few head staples and an overnight hospital stay and I’m very familiar with the repercussions.
My situation was a tiny bit different than Sidney Crosby’s as it was immediately known that I had suffered a concussion. There’s a debate as to which hit actually put Sid in the state of concussion. It is believed that Sid suffered at least a mild concussion when he was hit in the head by David Steckel of the Washington Capitals during the Winter Classic. They have shown during Penguin games the short version of the hit, if you watch the video below you can see a whole bunch of angles of the hit.
After watching that play, you sort of wonder if Sid was undiagnosed by the Penguins medical staff that gave him clearance to play in the next game against Tampa Bay. Watching the Victor Hedman hit from the Tampa Bay game below, it doesn’t look to be anywhere near as hard as the Steckel hit. As far a cheapness goes, after reviewing both a few times, the Victor Hedman hit wasn’t as hard but looked like a way more illegal hit from behind on an unsuspecting player.
Now, here is where the fun part about concussions comes in. A concussion doesn’t feel that much different than having the flu, you are a bit dizzy, nauseous and your head feels like mush. It is possible that after the first hit Sid hid his symptoms from the Pens medical staff. Perhaps with the HBO 24/7 crew hanging around Sid didn’t want to show he was injured, who knows. What I do know from dealing with head specialists at Allegheny General in Pittsburgh is that they all have different opinions on how soon you can get back to playing hockey.
The first answer I got from a trauma doctor about when I could resume playing hockey was that it would be unwise to start playing again in less than 6-8 weeks. The second doctor, a self proclaimed specialist (I’m sure he had the documentation to back it up) said 4 weeks. This led to a battle between the specialist and my wife who was very happy with the first answer of 6-8 weeks. As I laid in the hospital bed I was quite sure I could start up and play again in 4 weeks. Right up until the moment I stood up to go to the bathroom.
The difference in opinions and the specialist being unfamiliar with a well documented symptom I was having trouble with, the lack of smell, led me to go with the 6-8 weeks answer, that and the fact that I cared more about my well being than playing hockey. The fact that this AGH “specialist” was unfamiliar with many common symptoms really makes me wonder especially after seeing Sid undiagnosed or misdiagnosed if perhaps more training is needed by the Pittsburgh staff. I found out more on the internet than I could by talking to the doctors.
This leads me to Sidney Crosby. Sid has been banking tens of millions of dollars a year and if he never plays hockey again is set for life, having head problems the rest of his life from multiple concussions or coming back to soon should be the major decision factor on when he comes back.
I, much like everyone else want to see him strap the skates back on probably as much as he wants to resume his quest for his second Art Ross Trophy. The best thing for him and his future life and hockey life would be to sit as long as he needs. At the same time if he has had ideas about coming back and playing now, the team physicians would be best talking him out of it and benching him until after the All-Star game. Too many players have came back early from concussions and had their careers ended early because of it and four games in the span of his career aren’t going to mean squat.
Crosby may have an ulterior motive with his sitting out. When you look at the bigger picture. You would hope the doctors are saying to Sid that the longer he rests the better. I’m willing to bet that under normal circumstances, especially the playoffs, Sid would make a bit harder effort to strap those skates on sooner.
This is completely hypothetical… What if Sid was a bit upset that he spent untold hours of his life filming commercials, doing interviews, the HBO 24/7 thing and the whole nine yards for the NHL to help promote their precious Winter Classic, then he was a bit turned off when the NHL turned their backs on him when he was blindside hit by David Steckle during the Winter Classic and by Victor Hedman the next game.
Maybe Sid even thought about the irony that both cheap blind side hits came from teams that have a player competing with Sid for the scoring title. Maybe he was upset that any blind side head hit whether intentional or not was supposed to be being called.
It sure sounds like he’s a bit upset with the NHL when you read some of the stuff Sid had to say: “I couldn’t even tell you what happened, I think the puck was going to other way. And I turned and next thing I know, I am down. I can’t really comment on it. It’s pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn’t even see it. A lot of people didn’t. But I don’t even know. Got in my head, that’s for sure. But I don’t even know how it developed.”
“How tall is Steckel? I find it hard to believe that his shoulder hit me in the head … at 6-foot-5 … by accident.”
I’m just throwing this out there because on top of being an expert on concussions, I’m also an expert on spite. If I was Sid, I would sit out the All-Star game and rest my concussion and be resting my concussion every time Gary Bettman came calling for help.