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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Crosby watch 2.0

This blog pains me to write, Sidney Crosby is hurt again and is out indefinably. The Penguins and Crosby announced earlier last week that Crosby would miss the next 2 games, for precautionary reasons. But Monday morning a practice that should have had The Kid in it, had Crosby no where to be found. Later Monday morning he held a press conference, saying that he has concussion like symptoms, and will be out again. There are 2 things I believe could be going on with Sidney; 1) It's post-concussion syndrome something most athletes get right after suffering a major concussion and being hit again. It's a nasty thing that can almost be as worse and painful as having a full blown concussion, and no one knows how long it can last, it can be days, weeks or even months. I personally went through post concussion syndrome a few years ago, it's a scary thing and feels just like another concussion. It is basically your brain not being fully healed, and is a mild type of brain injury, not as severe as a full blown concussion, but still painful and dangerous. If you receive a full blown concussion while having Post Concussion Syndrome it can be extremely dangerous be fatal. 2) Crosby has a minor concussion, with Crosby already being concussed last season in January, he's become more susceptible to concussions. Once you have one (depending on severity) any bump can send you back into the crazy world of concussions.

So as so many people state; "if he has concussion-like symptoms, why don't they just say it's a concussion?" This was the case with Leafs goalie James Reimer, heck even his mother said he was concussed. “And if you look at those films when he got hit, it was a terrible hit . . . to the head and they called it ‘concussion-like’,” Dr. Charles Tator a Toronto Western Hospital neurologist said. “They didn’t own up to the fact that he had a concussion.” So why don't teams use the "C" word when talking about head injuries; sometimes the concussions aren't serious. My most recent concussion, I was told I could start playing again in 2 weeks. So sometimes players don't need to sit out as long as they would have to if it was an "official" concussion. Another reason teams don't like concussions, is players have to sit out and take it easy. Whether the Penguins officially declare it a concussion or not (and they are not about to) this situation has many worried, that Crosby will never be the same player, or may have to end his career early. "The good news is he is taking every precautionary measure he can and he is sending the right message out that if you're injured and you've suffered a concussion, take the time to recover. What could it mean for Sidney Crosby? Well potentially, the end of this career," Howard Bloom of Sports Business News told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday morning. If this is another minor concussion this would be Crosby's 2nd concussion in less than a year, an alarming fact, no wonder he wants to take it easy for a bit and wait for his symptoms to leave. As everyone knows, Crosby had to take 10 months off after his January concussion, and remember the Penguins and Crosby didn't think his concussion from the winter classic was going to be so serious, heck he went out and played a game the next day. The problem with concussions is that there are so many unknown factors, it's hard to get a good read on the situation, it's not like a broken foot where you can actually see the break. It's more about symptoms with concussions; headaches, dizziness, nausea, energy levels etc. “And we say one or more of those symptoms make the diagnosis of concussion,” Tator said “There aren’t a lot of general comparisons dealing with individual players. Last year we had other players dealing with a concussion. They all seemed to follow different symptoms, patterns, recoveries and lengths of time. It’s tough to say we’ll treat this instance different when it comes to the player’s 100-per cent health. Getting rid of those symptoms is paramount. If anything we’ll continue with that as a way we treat the protocol for a player’s health and coming back to play,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. But according to doctors you either have a concussion or you don't, there is no official medical term called "concussion- like symptoms" you either have a concussion or you don't. “There is no (clinical) term ‘concussion-like.’ said Tator of the phrase. “It’s a make-believe term that I think teams cook up to avoid the issue that a player has had a concussion.”

Crosby just returned to action November 23rd, in which he scored 2 goals and added 2 assists, and set the hockey world a buzz. But less than a month later Crosby is sitting again, one can only hope this won't be a extended absence from the NHL. Crosby says he hasn't felt "right" since December 5th when he was elbowed in the head by Bruins David Krejci. It was accidental contact, and Crosby was the one initiating the physical play, as he was heading to hit Krejci. Unfortunately for Crosby, Krejci knew Crosby was coming and spun out of the hit and nailed Crosby with an accidental elbow. Crosby has not laced up the skates for a game since then, and we won't be seeing him any time soon. Many are stating that Crosby's career could be cut short like Eric Lindross's was with too many concussions and post concussion issues. I don't think Crosby will call it career just yet, if he wanted to retire he likely would have done it after the first concussion. But it is far too early to speculate upon that; "We don't know that, but the markers indicate that this is going to be a long-term issue," hockey analyst Darren Dreger said, "Something that Crosby and the Penguins should be commended on is how forthcoming and upfront they've been in this process," he said. You know, except the part about using the make believe phrase "concussion-like" symptoms. I think it's more about Crosby wanting to play it safe and not risk anything with this whole concussion thing that has been haunting him for almost a year. Crosby knows he's a young guy and wants to play it safe therefore forcing the Penguins to sit him. The Pens don't want to lose their star player. If Crosby has to retire, the NHL could virtually be back to where it was in 2006, something the league can't afford to have happen. As Bloom of Sports Business News covering the business side of the NHL said; "It had to be a very bad day for Gary Bettman and company,".  Tator, stated; "Any blow to the head can make a difference to somebody who had had previous concussions," “The thing I worry about is that you’ll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at centre ice,” said famously concussed player Paul Kariya. Now the Penguins and Crosby took their sweet time waiting to allow Crosby back to playing in games, as they waited a good 10 months. But there is now speculation that Crosby came back a slight bit to early from his first concussion, when a concussed athlete returns to action to soon, the next hit can make the situation twice as worse. I am starting to believe that despite the 10 month layoff, Crosby made his come back a bit too early. In retrospect he should have probably taken at least a full year off of playing and step away from the game for awhile, maybe even a year and a half. I think Crosby was slightly pressured by the NHL and Penguins to come back as soon as he could.

The important thing is that Crosby is doing the right thing here, after 10 months away from the game just focusing on how his head and body feel, he knows his body better than anyone else right now. So good on him for noticing something was wrong and not wanted to "play through" the pain and what not. Something that really upset me was, the way the hockey analysts were talking about Crosby's mini two game break last week, they insisted that he was paranoid and any little hit he would want to sit out. They insisted he was over reacting. I'd like to invite these analyst people to get hit and experience the living hell Crosby went through for the last 10 months, and then to get hit in the head again, to experience headaches everyday for a year, or experience the pressure the 24 year old Crosby has by being the face of the NHL. Sometimes these analysts just need to shut up. Crosby is not paranoid and is doing the right thing by taking a break in his current situation, something not a lot of players have the brains or guts to do! Everyone is excited that Crosby's IMPACT score was pretty decent and nowhere as bad as his last concussion, but those test don't always work, concussion symptoms often come on a few days after the incident and gradually get worse later on after the incident. So these tests aren't always 100% accurate, just because you pass this test doesn't exactly mean anything! Players who “fudge it” during a concussion examination make it “hopeless” to come to an accurate diagnosis, Tator says. Probably the saddest thing about this whole situation is how Crosby is feeling about the whole situation, he is confused, frustrated, upset and frankly probably a little scared. “I don't think 'frustrating' even describes it,” Crosby told reporters. He’d returned for only eight games – and scored two goals and a dozen points – since concussion symptoms knocked him out of hockey for 10 months. “It's much different than previously going through that stuff. I'm way better off than I was dealing with this stuff 10 months ago... I just figured it was better to be cautious here and not take any chances. “I'm not (feeling) bad. And I'm not happy about watching. But I've got to make sure with these sort of things that I'm careful.” During Crosby's media speech thingy, it looked like he was trying to hide back tears and force a smile. Although I am not a fan of Crosby, I respect his talent and I feel bad for him with everything he is dealing with, It's sad and bad for the game whether you like Crosby or not.

It's like a bad dream inside of a nightmare for Sidney Crosby who just returned from a 10 month layoff due to a concussion. We need Crosby back, no question about it. Crosby is the best player in the league and is out again, if he does come back from this latest setback he will likely never be the same. I hate to say I told you so, but in my last blog about Crosby I said he would get hurt again, and he is even sooner than I thought!. I wish Crosby a speedy recovery but until then, we are on Crosby watch 2.0.

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