Blinded by the Light: What Fans Fail to See About Concussions

 photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson

On Thursday night, Washington Capital defenseman Mike Green tweeted the following:

A week and a half earlier, Montreal Canadien forward Max Pacioretty tweeted this:

Both of these players are currently dealing with concussions; Green was injured on Feb. 25 and Pacioretty was injured on March 8

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.


Daniel_W's picture

I didn't know those comments from the Bruins were out there... that's pathetic... almost a year later, and i'm still getting symptoms at this moment right now.

George Prax's picture

People are plain and simply idiots and make assumptions based on the smallest little details, because they want to try and excuse the heinous actions of, in this case, Zdeno Chara. His teammates and Bruins fans want to excuse him for obvious reasons, the rest are simply dinosaurs that think protecting players equals taking hitting out of the game, so instead of looking at what really matters - the livelihood of the league's players - they'll look at whatever they can to draw attention away from the original actions.

Recchi is plain and simply an idiot, and as a former fan of his, considering he's a former Hab, I was disgusted by his comments. He has absolutely no say in what Pacioretty is feeling or his recovery or whatever, and doesn't know squat. It doesn't take a doctor to know that when you're knocked unconscious by a blow like Pacioretty suffered, you're automatically diagnosed with a severe concussion no matter whether you actually end up having one or not. A few days later, Pacioretty was cleared of that concussion because he had little to no symptoms.

Moreover, how does Recchi or anyone else know he was even at a movie theater? Guy's a hockey star, maybe he had a screening at his place or a friend's place or simply downloaded the film illegally like a lot of us do. Same for Green - who's assessment of The Adjustment Bureau I agree with, by the way Wink.

It's pretty evident here that people are just making excuses to take attention away from the fact that headshots, concussions, and illegal hits are a problem in the league and need to be dealt with. Recchi even said it himself when he addressed the comments after the game!

Great blog Chelsea

George Prax's picture

Mike, the announcement that he had a "severe concussion" only came officially from the coach after the league decided not to suspend Chara. A couple of days later, it was announced that he had no concussion symptoms, so it was decided he didn't have one. The diagnosis of "severe concussion" was only given automatically because he was knocked out on the ice for several minutes. Apparently it's common practice in these situations, and more a precautionary measure since these things take time to properly diagnose.

And the Canadiens didn't even announce a return date. They said that he could start practicing in 3 to 5 weeks and that he was concussion symptom free. However Recchi, or the fans decide to misconstrue what the Habs say is their own problem. But for the record no "return date" has been announced for Pacioretty, nor does it mean that he isn't at danger in the same way Marc Savard was when he returned in the playoffs last year.

Again, you're misconstruing what was said, and how the media and Mark Recchi spun it in the following weeks.