Sydney Crosby arguably the best player in the National Hockey league is headed to a specialist because of reoccurring motion and balance issues.
Is his career over? Does someone come back from a head injury that has lasted this long? Are we going to lose potentially one of the greatest players of all time?
Lets hope Sydney has a full recovery and resumes his career because the NHL is a better league to watch with him playing in it.
Dealing with head injuries has become a hot topic of conversation in the NHL. The question has to be asked, why some many?
I think there are a few major factors that are contributing to more concussions in the NHL.
1. Players are bigger, faster, stronger than ever. 15 years ago, players were not training in the off-season like they do today. Today's NHL players are great skaters, very strong and very explosive.
2. NHL rules changes in 2005. The NHL took out hooking and holding from the game under the new rule changes in 2005. Defending players used to be able to "hold up" forcheckers so they couldn't pick up speed and essentially take a "run" at your D-man. Now without the holding and obstructing in the game, the speed has picked up dramatically. Its a double edge sword for the NHL because the game is the best it has ever been to watch but with more speed comes faster and more powerful collisions.
3. Trainers doctors and players are more aware of the symptoms. Years ago, you used to hear guys say, "I just got my bell rung" or "I blacked out for a second but I am fine" Odds are, those players did have minor concussions but never missed a shift for them. Now trainers, doctors, and players are more aware and are taking the conservative (which is the right way in my opinion) approach on head injuries.
The league is doing a good job at suspending players who are targeting opponents heads and I imagine they will continue handing out suspensions left and right. Mark Messier has engineered a new helmet with state of the art technology to help minimize impact trauma to the head.
Over the next decade we will see many more changes to the equipment players are using because this issue does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.