Head Shots and concussions... how big of an issue are they?
Headshots and Concussions... they're an issue that is constantly talked about around the league, every game you watch, it is mentioned at least once. Every big hit, someone complains it was a headshot.
The NHL Board of Governors met on Saturday to discuss this issue. Whether the penalty needs to be broadened, maybe it isn't strict enough? Or does something else completely different need to be done about this issue, such as an equipment change?
GM's are constantly getting asked about the issue, and you can clearly see who has a bigger problem with it. With Marc Savard out with his second concussion in under two years, Sidney Crosby going down on a "headshot", which I saw, and have watched 100 times and still believe it's entirely his fault that happened, and many other players around the league down with concussions or post-concussion symptoms, it's getting a lot more attention at the moment. Brian Burke said about the meeting (completely forget i'm a Leaf fan here...) that it's only getting a lot of attention because of Crosby, and that if a guy like Mike Brown were to have gotten one, no one would have even thought of mentioning it. He's 100% right, every time a player goes down, their GM screams to the media and wants to offending player out for games and games.
Don't get me wrong, concussions are a serious thing, I understand that. What I'm arguing exactly is that it's PART OF THE GAME. Sure you can clearly tell that there are some unnecessary hits going on out on the ice, but when an accidental one happens, everyone freaks.
I know first hand what concussions are like, how they happen, and what it's like after. I turned 16 about two weeks ago, and I couldn't play this season. In my past 3 seasons, i've had 3 concussions, and an uncountable amount of bumps to the head that give symptoms. It was so bad, that the phrase of just poking someone in the chin, was true. Fell, bumped my shoulder off the ice... and that was my season, 3 practices. I got another one a few months ago from running into a door, was out of school for 3 weeks, and am still getting symptoms, and just getting back on the ice. So I know what these players go through, but obviously on a smaller scale, and i'm only playing up to A hockey.
Now i'm nowhere near the size of these NHL players... 6'0'', 220. But I think the real issue involving these concussion problems is the players history. I can tell you right now, that no player nowadays goes through his whole minor hockey career not having a slight concussion, none of them. They don't say anything, because they know it's a big deal. I knocked myself unconscious, somehow skated back to the bench, laid there for 10 minutes, my coach sent me back out... Coaches, parents, and players are not realizing what is going on.
Look at Eric Lindros. Seven career concussions... do you think that's all he's had? Definitely not. When you get your first concussion, it is either considered "minor" or "major", major obviously having more severe symptoms. After that, they're all considered complex. Every time you get another concussion, it takes a smaller bump to get worse symptoms. So there is clear that a lot of players have a history.
What i'm trying to say is, I think the "prevention" needs to be laid off in the NHL a bit, and more action needs to be taken in minor hockey.