I just finished watching the Frontline documentary, League of Denial. It concerns the problem of concussions in sport, specifically football.
I have been following this issue for a few months and the problem also exists in hockey. Concussions are very serious and even one injury of this kind can lead to all kinds of brain injuries which one does not recover from.
Having been involved with the local junior hockey team for the past 20 years or so, I have seen the result of these injuries not only in players but in former players and employees.
Getting your bell rung in a hockey fight at the age of 17 or 18 may make the fans happy but the evidence is clear as to the ramifications of these injuries.
The Kamloops Blazers have a player that it seems to me is a classic example of how teams and leagues just ignore the problem. Aspen Sterzer was injured in a game last December.
He received a concussion and was out for some time. Actually he ended up being out for the season.
It took over six months for the symptoms to get better and yet he’s back playing again with the Blazers.
Why? Because a doctor said he was OK.
If young Sterzer had a brain injury that took over six months to recover from, he is certainly in very serious territory if he gets hit in the head again. The next hit to the head he absorbs will probably be his last and it may cause him problems years down the road.
It may affect his entire life and it may in fact, according to the evidence, shorten his life.
The brain of Bob Probert was examined for CED and was found to be a lot like swiss cheese.
This macho “I’m OK” attitude has to end for the sake of the players. Fights are the most prevalent way that players suffer concussions and yet the hockey world
insists that they are part of the game.
Ask Mohammed Ali about hits to the head. No actually don’t bother to ask him. He’s in Lala land most of the time thanks to too many hits to the head.
If the Blazers and the WHL had any integrity, they would tell Aspen Sterzer, “Sorry, but you’ve done enough damage to your brain already. Move on and find something else to do.”
How many young players will it take before fighting and hits to the head are banned forever?