Talk about concussions in the National Hockey League has grown louder this past week with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger announcing he’s done for the year due to the issue.
Maybe because it’s a warrior like Pronger or the fact no one is quite sure how he got it (most think it was an after-effect from taking a high-stick to the right eye) that people are re-hashing the topic.
Credit the NHL for being acutely sensitive to the issue. They instituted strict concussion protocol, severely penalized those who target the head and tried to soften points of impact on the playing surface.
More can be done. But the best way to curb head injuries doesn’t rest with the league or equipment manufacturers. The players have to show more respect for one another (while a vocal contigent thinks taking the instigator out would help, that’ll never happen).
“I’d still like to see the players have more respect for game situations,” said Blackhawks defenseman Sean O’Donnell. “I saw a play where someone missed a concussion I think it was in Phoenix. His team was down 4-1 and it was the last minute of a game, and he got hit in the corner. That really doesn’t need to happen.
“It’s a 4-1 game; I know you want to play hard. You can play hard, but realize the situation of the game and go at the guy and give him a shot and then get back to your good positioning.
“It’s some of that mentality where you need to have respect ... I think we’re on the right track, but it’s gonna take time. It’s only been two years where we’ve really put focus on this.”