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On hockey’s problem (and my problem) with concussions, hypocrisy and excuses

May 19th, 2017 at 10:52 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Nearly a decade ago, when I suffered my fifth concussion before my 13th birthday and left my school in an ambulance for the second time in as many years, I couldn’t control my eyes. When I regained my consciousness, they rolled to the back of my head, revealing only white to my distressed mom at the hospital.

By the time I was off the backboard, out of the neck brace, in a bed, in control of my brain (as much as one could be while severely concussed) and lucid enough for my first discussion with a physician, the one of the first things he asked was “how many is this?”

When he heard the answer, one of the first conclusions he came to was that my time playing contact sports was over.

But months later, when the major post-concussion syndrome symptoms had subsided and all that remained were visits with a neurologist, regular blackouts (like the kind you get when you stand up too quickly but prolonged for minutes at a time and out of the blue), and a lifelong hand tremor, I was back on the ice.

I was feeling fine on most days, I had quit lacrosse (which I’d told myself and others was the more contact-heavy sport anyways) for good, and I wanted to take up recreational house league hockey to get back playing. It was non-contact, I’d tell my parents and doctors. I was fine, I’d say, when they would check in on me after games or at …

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