"Dont worry Dad, it’s not a percussion."

That is what my eight year old son Caden said to me on the way to the emergency room to get his broken wrist x-rayed after hockey practice the other night. Of course he meant ‘concussion’, and again in one single instance, he made me laugh and think all at the same time. It is scary that at eight years old he knows about concussions, but after the last few years watching hockey and Sportscenter that word will become ingrained in a young person’s head.
As a young player I broke both my wrists, one of them twice and none of them were as painful as seeing him break his. Yes, I am officially a hockey parent….His injury got me thinking about the sport and everything that goes along with it, injuries and all.
It is funny when you are done playing the game and time passes. Your brain has a great ability to remember all the great times and makes you work very hard to remember the pain, the surgeries, the re-habilitations and just the everyday bumps and bruises that go along with the game.
At least that is how it used to be. When I was sitting in the emergency room, then the doctor’s office and then the casting room with my son it made me think about the pro players today. Front and center, the concussion issue. I began hoping it would not be something my son would ever have to deal with as he continues to play. It made me think about the tragic events that happened in the hockey world this summer and how they may have been concussion related. I know the game is a very tough, high impact game. Always has been always will be. That is part of what makes it great. But things changed some years ago. Players not only became stronger, better conditioned athletes; the speed of the game increased dramatically. Changes in technology improved equipment which further gave the players confidence to play at such high speeds. Higher speeds, greater collisions, more brain bruises. It really isn’t that hard to figure out.
Thank god the NHL looks like it is stepping up and doing something about it. The new head of discipline, Brendan Shanahan, has taken a very aggressive approach to dealing with some of the play that leads to some of these injuries. Not many people played the game as hard as Brendan did and it is great to see an ex-player that is so intelligent, helping to make a stand. Let’s hope it continues as his lead will dictate how things filter down to the minor hockey level. Our kid’s heads depend on it.
Broken bones heal but finally I think we are all realizing that broken brains may not…….

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