Flyers’ Bourdon skating, still dealing with concussion symptoms

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This season is supposed to be the one Flyers defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon challenges for a full-time role on the blue line. Instead, he’s trying to bounce back a concussion suffered last year that ended his season.

Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com spoke with the almost 24-year-old blue liner and finds out that while he’s back skating, he’s still dealing with issues stemming from his injury.

“Every time I skated with the guys [in August] and there was contact and stuff, it was just bad luck and I had symptoms. I can’t have the contact if I am still having symptoms,” Bourdon said.

Bourdon played in just 17 games last year for the AHL Adirondack Phantoms thanks to his injury. GM Paul Holmgren says he’s “day-to-day” but he’s already announced Bourdon will start the season on long-term injured reserve.

Considering how banged up the Flyers defensive corps was last season, having all the depth you can goes a long way. Going without Bourdon won’t be helpful to Philly in anyway.

Panthers prospect Bjugstad (concussion) held out of camp

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Not a great start to Florida Panthers training camp.

On Thursday, the club announced prized rookie Nick Bjugstad was being held out after suffering a concussion during the Coral Springs prospects tournament.

Bjugstad, 21, was Florida’s first-round pick (19th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the last three years at the University of Minnesota and made his NHL debut for the Panthers late last season, appearing in 11 games while recording his first big-league goal.

Bjugstad, a center, is expected to challenge for a spot with the Panthers this season.

It’ll be interesting to see were he fits on the depth chart, as the club added two centers this offseason — veteran Scott Gomez and Aleksander Barkov, the second overall selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Kings’ Stoll says seizure not ‘connected’ to concussion

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Jarret Stoll isn’t sure what caused his seizure in early July, but he knows it wasn’t from a concussion suffered in the postseason.

“I wish I have a little bit of an explanation,” Stoll told the LA Times on Wednesday. “Nothing really. Even with the concussion in the playoffs, I thought maybe those were connected. But they weren’t.

“That’s the good news, I guess.”

Stoll, 31, was rushed to a L.A.-area hospital the morning of July 3 after suffering the seizure and underwent a series of tests, according to Kings GM Dean Lombardi.

A few months earlier, he suffered a concussion (the second of his career) on a high hit from Sharks forward Raffi Torres.

Stoll missed almost all of Los Angeles’ second-round playoff win against San Jose, but did return to play all five Western Conference finals games against Chicago.

So, it remains unclear what caused the seizure. In speaking with LA Kings Insider earlier this month, Stoll wasn’t offering much detail.

“I feel fine. I feel a hundred percent,” he explained. “That’s not an issue. I think it’s more of an issue if people talk about it, and it’s just one of those things that happened that I wish didn’t, but it did.”

Stoll was medically cleared to return to action for the start of training camp and says he’s doing well.

“I feel good,” he told the Times. “I feel healthy.”

NHL has no comment after NFL concussion settlement

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The NFL has reached a $765 million settlement, which if approved by a judge, will end months of mediation and a concussion lawsuit. The money will help fund medical exams and research as well as pay former players suffering from dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to CBC.

Following this agreement, NHL spokesman Frank Brown told the Globe and Mail that the league had no comment. Still, the question of whether or not we could see a similar class-action lawsuit might have been impacted by this settlement.

As lawyer Caroline Zayid points out, one of the results of this lawsuit is that the NFL will not have to reveal any documentation showing how much they knew about concussions at varying points in time.

“If all the documents had been produced, it might have made it easier to follow the trail and figure out when certain information became widely known and when medical evidence came to light,” Zayid said. “It might have provided a bit of a road map. The NHL is a different league, but you probably would have looked for parallels and it might have helped a little bit.”

In other words, Zayid thinks this result diminishes the odds that we will see similar legal action attempted by former NHL players.

It’s also worth noting that NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said the league didn’t reach this settlement because they felt they were in the wrong, but rather because they “thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation.”

The NHL has taken pains in recent years to reduce the number of head hits and thus concussions in the game, although the rate of concussions has reportedly not decreased.

Report: NHL rule changes haven’t decreased concussion rates

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Three years ago, the NHL tightened its rules on hits to the head in an effort to curb injuries and concussions.

According to a new study, it’s not working.

Conducted by neurosurgeon and concussion researcher Dr. Michael Cusimano of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, the study compared concussion rates before and after the NHL introduced rules against hits to the head in 2010.

“The rate of concussion did not decrease,” Cusimano said in an interview, as per CBC. “It in fact increased the first year and in the second year in the NHL it stayed stable.

“So we didn’t see a decline like I think everyone had hoped, including the NHL, who said brought in primarily for player safety.”

The amendment to rule 48 — illegal checks to the head — was introduced two years ago, at the start of the 2010-11 campaign..

From NHL.com:

Illegal checks to the head, defined as “a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted,” will now be subject to a five-minute major penalty and automatic game misconduct, as well as possible supplemental discipline if deemed appropriate by the League.

While the aim is to prevent severe injuries, like the concussions suffered last season by players such as Florida’s David Booth and Boston’s Marc Savard, hockey remains a contact sport and [Director of Officiating Terry] Gregson made clear that just because there is contact to the head, it doesn’t automatically make for an illegal hit.

Cusimano suggests the rule isn’t working is because of how it was originally worded — and how it’s been called.

“Part of it’s the way the rule’s written. Part of it’s the way the rule is enforced. Part of it’s the penalties associated with the rule,” he explained. “And part of it is that concussions are also coming from other causes like fighting, that is still allowed.”

Another issue, it seems, is the sheer physicality of the sport.

Cusimano and his researchers said 64 per cent of NHL concussions were caused by bodychecking, while 28 per cent of concussions — and 28 per cent of suspected concussions — were caused by illegal incidents that resulted in a penalty, fine or suspension.

As for solutions, Cusimano came up with four suggestions: banning fighting, stiffer penalties for teams/players that cause concussions, changing equipment regulations and looking at different ice sizes and dimensions.