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An Uncertain Future: Rick Nash?s Retirement and the NHL?s Ongoing Concussion Problem


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Hockey is physical, and being a professional athlete means that you’re always one brutal instant away from being someone whose Wikipedia entry has the phrase “career-ending.” Sometimes it’s a shattered femur and sometimes it’s a rattled skull. But at least in the first scenario there is no systemic shadiness, and there are no team owners staring innocently into cameras and insisting they’ve never heard of a permanent limp. And there is also far less of a chance that the injury might ultimately render life unrecognizable.






Poweful stuff here. Read it in its entirety. You won't regret it.

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I skimmed this but will deep dive later.


At this point, people know enough about concussions that if you're choosing to play, the league can't be held responsible.


However, league should cover retired players who they lied to about it a la NFL... But players today know the risk.

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Can someone explain how Rick Nash missed 12 games after getting concussed in March, then suited up for 12 playoff games, and

then proceeded to retire citing "unresolved issues/symptoms from the concussion sustained last March"?


Does anyone here think Rick Nash didn't know what he was doing in April when he walked in to the team medical trainer's office and went through concussion protocol to get cleared to play?


That's the issue here, in my opinion. These guys are not being given the proper time or means to recover from their concussions and they find themselves back in the lineup either willingly or pressured in by the super-macho hockey culture. I think you can make a case, in the past, about how the NHL was negligent in educating players on concussions and their lasting effects, but the cat is out of the bag here.


Part of me is like, "What is the NHL to do?" They have concussion spotters and protocol to test for these sorts of things, but they're still totally reliant on self-reporting.


Then the other part of me thinks that if you've listened to former players talk about this process, it's a joke. So maybe that can be more strict? But there's still no actual, evidence-based means of detecting a concussion, so there's no real way forward beyond the self-reporting.


So, to me, and this will probably be unpopular, now it falls on the players. They need to realize that if they decide to hide their concussions, "play hurt" while still feeling concussion symptoms (eg: Rick Nash), or simply playing through getting their bell rung without seeing the team doctor, they're putting themselves at risk for major health issues in the future. And this goes way beyond playing through a separated shoulder or whatever bevy of injuries these guys play through. The culture has to change if they want this to change and the ball is in the players' court now.

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In high school sports, I got dings to the head, nothing as serious as college and professional athletes get. I wanted to play, and I didn't want someone else to become the starter.... so I usually just sat out the rest of practice. I don't remember it happening in a game, and if it did, I don't think I would have wanted to come out.


If you know other guys in the locker room are getting dinged and keep playing, I'm sure there's pressure (both from yourself, and unsaid by others) to suit up. You can be hurt and play (ice, wraps, heat, prosthetics, etc) or be injured and sit (ACL tear, catastrophic injuries). But there is a blurry line between being hurt and injured.

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