Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Head Hurts

Hello New York and everywhere else, I'm Bird and are in the birdcage. I'm happy to announce that a new Podcast has been made available so if you wanted to listen to the Hockeyrodent - Hockeybird Radio show, it's here.

The sheer amount of discussion on head shots, concussions and what to do about it is enough to give me a headache. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this isn't important. I'm not even complaining about the issue being brought to the front of the discussion. In fact, I'm not complaining at all.

It's about time this is addressed. As a beer league goalie who got dinged several times, I can tell you that the changes we are seeing are in the best interests of the players. In the NHL, it's the players that make the game what it is. It's the players that bring the fans, help generate the cash and provide the product we all consume. For way too long, the unwritten "code" of a hockey player was to ignore pain, in any form. It never occurred to me that a TBI (traumatic brain injury) could have long lasting/life long effects. We know this now. That the NHL is doing something about it is to be commended.

As Ranger fans we are all concerned about Marc Staal, whose addition to the line up would be just awesome. But how many of us are concerned about his long term health? I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, I myself want him back ASAP. However, this is serious.

I've basically done a 180 on this. I used to adhere to the code, I didn't miss games for injuries. I bought into the whole hockey player mentality. It's been ten years since I've played and the pain I endure on a daily basis sucks. And, I was just a beer league goalie at best. Can you imagine what a serious NHL career could do to one's body?

We lost Beukes and Pat LaFontaine but I never really thought much about it. With Crosby out, Pronger out, the new guy in Carolina.......the list goes on. We can't help but think about this, talk about this. It's apparently serious.

I can't claim I have lasting effects from my concussions. Honestly, I don't remember much about how I felt afterwards and if it affected my game. Maybe that in itself says something. I do know that I'm glad that we are finally discussing this post-concussion syndrome issue. It reminds me of when that Marine General first spoke about his suffering from PTSD. It became OK for others to at least talk about it. The stigma is now gone.

----}- Bird

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