Blinded by the Light: What Fans Fail to See About Concussions
On Thursday night, Washington Capital defenseman Mike Green tweeted the following:
A week and a half earlier, Montreal Canadien forward Max Pacioretty tweeted this:
So what’s the issue here?
The issue is that Green’s movie date went unnoticed, while fans were up in arms about Pacioretty taking in a flick. (As well as heading to the Bell Centre to support his teammates.) People took to the Internet to question his injury and eventually, blame the Habs for embellishing the severity of the situation.
And that, plain and simple, is wrong.
Many resorted to blaming the victim instead of wishing him well, from the very beginning.
Instead of being relieved that he was alive, many accused him of not knowing his position on the ice. Instead of being happy that a player who broke his neck was healing so quickly, many immediately assumed that he was faking. Instead of doing a bit of reading, many added an M.D. to their name and denounced Pacioretty for his lack of concussion symptoms.
Unfortunately, fans and writers weren’t the only ones.
Though after the game Mark Recchi claimed that the remarks were strictly strategy, the veteran forward joined fans in rolling his eyes at Pacioretty’s injuries, accusing the Habs of embellishing the situation to get aggressor Zdeno Chara suspended.
“When there’s an injury that’s... You know he does have a fractured vertebra, but the concussion was obviously really a non-factor. Maybe a day or two. Maybe a day he felt it and then he was fine a couple days later. I believe, yeah, they were trying to get Zdeno suspended and they embellished it a little bit.”
Why didn’t any anyone do that to Green?
Was it because it was a less controversial play? Was it because the Habs/Bruins rivalry is much more heated than a clash between the Caps and Rangers?
No matter the reason, it’s not fair.
These are guys who have played hockey their entire lives. They are guys who eat, sleep, and breathe hockey. They ignore and downplay some of the worst sports-related injuries fans have ever seen, just to get back onto the ice.
It's not fair for players to attack other players either. Shortly after Recchi's comments, Milan Lucic chimed in before the Bruins faced the Habs last week for the first time since the hit.
”I remember [Bergeron] after his hit like it was yesterday. He couldn’t even open the blinds at his house for two months.
“If you ask Sidney Crosby I’m pretty sure he’d tell you he hasn’t been able to go to the movies over the last two months.”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether these guys are sitting in the dark all day or sitting in front of a movie screen -- a concussion is a concussion. Obviously I’m not a doctor, but common sense tells me that each player -- as well as each concussion -- is different. That’s why they’re hard to diagnose and hard to treat -- every player is going to handle and heal from his injury differently.
B’s fans aren’t strangers to concussions; Patrice Bergeron, Marc Savard, and Steven Kampfer are just a few names that come to mind. These three players are three different people with three different concussions who healed or are healing in different ways. Instead of denouncing Pacioretty, you would think Bruins fans would be a bit more sympathetic to his predicament, no matter what sweater he’s wearing.
Something tells me that Pacioretty will return to the ice as soon as he can. Not because he’s faked his injury, but because hockey is his in his blood.