Sunday’s health and safety new surrounding sports:
* The Glen Falls Post-Star reported on how hockey is still in a battle with concussions, focusing on the region’s American Hockey League teams and former NHL star Keith Primeau.
Eleven months after suffering his fourth documented concussion, then-Philadelphia Flyer Keith Primeau was still fighting to return to hockey. The 34-year-old still wanted to play.
The team trainer, however, told Primeau he could not in good conscience ever clear him to play again.
“It took somebody else to have the courage to tell me, otherwise I would have kept trying and ultimately would have just hurt myself,” said Primeau, who started his professional hockey career with the Adirondack Red Wings. “There’s no way I would have been able to play, but I would have just kept trying.”
That was seven years ago, and Primeau still suffers some post-concussion symptoms. He said he had four documented concussions, saying he definitely suffered others that went un-diagnosed.
The story said some of the problem lies with pro hockey’s secrecy involving injuries — and the fact that the NHL isn’t using independent neurologists.
In hockey, teams are not required to release the specific injury a player suffered, often labeling them as “upper-body injury” or “lower-body injury.” Some concussions, therefore, may be treated without ever being released to the public.
Both the NHL and AHL have made an effort to reduce concussions by outlawing hits to the head, hits from behind and similar hits. The NHL mandated that every arena must have a quiet place where a player can be evaluated if a coach or trainer feels he is showing any signs that he may have a concussion.
The NHL, however, is the only of the big four professional leagues that does not require a concussed player to be cleared by an independent doctor in addition to the team doctor. The NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball made the move to ensure team personnel weren’t pressured to clear the player early.
* The Denver Post reported about how the Colorado Avalanche have been dealing with a rash of concussions.
* Concord University in Athens, W.Va., is hosting a sports medicine conference in March, according to The State Journal.
* The Boston Globe had a column that criticized the lack of diversity hiring in the NFL this offseason.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor