One good way to make sure you spend a lot of time on the injured list is to not tell the training staff what’s wrong with you when you’re hurt.
Toronto’s Colby Armstrong pulled that off nicely as he didn’t tell Leafs trainers or coach Ron Wilson that he got a concussion against Vancouver. The Globe And Mail’s David Shoalts reports that Armstrong instead told trainers he was dealing with a foot problem. Instead, Armstrong ended up giving away that he had a concussion when he became so nauseous he puked.
On the big checklist of “signs you might have a concussion” you have to believe that “throwing up” is right at the top. The Leafs going without Armstrong indefinitely means any one of Joe Colborne, Darryl Boyce, or Nazem Kadri will get the call from the minors.
Meanwhile, Armstrong is again on the shelf. Armstrong missed 23 games with an ankle injury earlier this season and was just getting back into the flow of things before this concussion setback. At least we’re assuming it was an ankle injury.
If you’re looking for a player to use as an example of how concussions can linger through a career, look no further than Minnesota’s Guillaume Latendresse.
Latendresse played just over seven minutes last night in Minnesota’s shootout loss to Chicago leaving the game with what was ultimately determined to be post-concussion syndrome. For Latendresse, it was his second game back since returning from a different concussion and his latest injury will have him shut down indefinitely as Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports.
Latendresse has had nagging injury problems virtually his entire career but his battle with concussions is what’s bothered him the most of late. When healthy, Latendresse is a solid, physical forward capable of scoring goals in bunches. Even in last night’s game with limited playing time he had four hits.
If ever you wondered why teams are being especially careful these days in how they handle players with concussions, Latendresse is providing a great modern example why. With the Wild playing as well as they are, not having a potential weapon like Latendresse hurts.
If you’ve been wondering just what Marc Staal has been up to since being shut down during training camp with post-concussion-like symptoms, the answer is nothing at all.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Staal has been held back from any and all physical activity for the past month and is headed back to Boston to see concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu, the man who has been treating him since this fall.
Given the secrecy that’s surrounded Staal’s condition, hearing that it is indeed a concussion and that he’s had to be held back completely from physical exertion is disturbing. After all, when Staal was crushed by a hit from his brother Eric Staal last season, Marc tried to tough it out and keep playing last season only to have to sit out games at a time. Toughing it out when you’ve got a concussion only leads to bigger problems. It’s no wonder that Marc has had these problems now.
While Marc continues to be out, you have to wonder just what was going on with the Rangers’ trainers and doctors to allow him to both keep playing games and then come back to training camp this year still dealing with issues. At least they stopped him before things could get even worse, but for now the Rangers have to live with the mess they helped along in the first place.
Last season, hearing about potentially concussed players being sent to the “quiet room” was the hot topic of discussion. It wasn’t just the first step the league took in trying to protect players, but it was seen as a bit of a controversial change. This season, the league’s concussion protocol is coming under fire thanks to St. Louis’ Andy McDonald.
McDonald is out with a concussion, one he got after returning to a game after going through the quiet room protocol. As you might expect, seeing an injury like that that came from those circumstances, it’s going to raise a lot of questions.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford hears from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly about how the league feels on the situation.
“We are familiar with the circumstances surrounding Andy McDonald’s case, and we are comfortable with how the case was handled by the medical care professionals from start to finish,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email. “Our protocol was fully complied with. It’s important to recognize that sometimes the symptoms of a concussion don’t manifest themselves until well after the event causing concussion, sometimes 48 to 72 hours later. In those instances, and where there are no other obvious reasons for concern, a return to play authorization is likely. I’m not sure anything more could or should be done in those cases.”
If the protocol was complied with and the player was still injured, then perhaps the protocol needs to be examined a bit more thoroughly. We’ve seen it happen enough where a player looks fine, acts fine, and seems fine only to see them wind up on the shelf for months (oh, hello Sidney Crosby).
The issue with concussions is a major one and the league can’t afford to have situations like this happen, especially with a team like the Blues that is dealing with another player with concussion problems in David Perron.
The “quiet room” is a great first step for the NHL in getting their concussion treatment issues resolved, but leaving well enough alone is going to get more players hurt for extended periods. Getting everyone from the NHL and NHLPA on board to make it work the right way might be even harder than keeping a player off the ice for 15 minutes when they’re hurt.
If we haven’t learned that recovering from a concussion isn’t as easy as some might want it to be, consider the case of St. Louis Blues forward David Perron. Perron was knocked out for the season on November 4 in a game against San Jose where he received a blindside hit from San Jose’s Joe Thornton. Thornton was exiting the penalty box and he lit up Perron with an open ice hit he had no idea was coming.
Since then, Perron hasn’t been able to do much of anything aside from relay messages on Twitter and just hope that the injury sustained to his brain can continue to heal up. With the amount of time that’s taking, however, the Blues aren’t expecting to see Perron return in time for the start of this season.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong gave his update on how things are progressing with Perron to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
“David has shown improvement,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said this morning. “But it’s not to the point where he’s ready to come in and work out and start training yet. The improvement took a big jump a few months ago, but it’s been slow and steady now.
“We’re going to continue down the course we’re at right now. But where we’re at now, in the summer and with training camp, we’ve decided to just move forward with the idea that David won’t be ready for training camp … he’ll just continue to progress and when he is ready, whatever time he is ready, he’ll jump back in and start his training to resume his career. But we’re not expecting him at training camp.”
Not making it to training camp puts the clock at 10 months since Perron has been the ice and with how Armstrong is assessing things, Perron’s recovery is just rough to witness and serves as a prime example as to why concussions must always be treated with care. It can also serve as an example as to why Penguins fans should take their time in hoping that Sidney Crosby gets back.
Treating these injuries is an inexact science since people respond to them differently and the Blues will be a better team with Perron back healthy, but for now, they just have to hope that Perron can just get healthy, period. If he can get well enough to get back on the ice and play hockey again, it’s all gravy from there. For now, that feels like it’s going to be a long way off.