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01-24-2012, 04:17 PM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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The USA Today has three articles dedicated to the topic of concussions in today's edition. I was going to place this in the thread related to concussions but this is topical as well.

Based on an average roster size of 23, this means one of every 10 NHL players has already missed games. More than 850 games had been lost as of Sunday — totaling more than $30 million in prorated salary.

"I think people realize that this isn't a broken arm or a broken leg. It's a broken brain," said former pro hockey player Kerry Goulet, founder of, a website launched last year to raise awareness of the issue.

Player agent Allan Walsh has been keeping track of the league's concussion rate, and he says if the current rate continues there could be 110 by the end of the season. That means more than 15% of NHL players will have missed games.

"That's why I say we have a concussion epidemic right now that has reached crisis proportions," Walsh said.

But fighters have another worry in a Boston University research center study of the brains of deceased NHL tough guys Bob Probert and Derek Boogaard, which showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

That disease has been linked to depression and severe dementia.

"It's pretty scary to see," Boll said. "But I wonder what the brain of a guy who doesn't fight but gets hit a lot would look like. I just try to stay healthy, and if I wasn't feeling right, I would say something."

Paul Bissonnette, a popular tough guy with more than 190,000 Twitter followers, says he doesn't see many concussions caused by fighting, and "there are plenty caused by little runts running around with elbows."

(Side column)

Former NHL player Tom Laidlaw says the biggest change in the league’s concussion approach is acceptance of the idea that a player should never try to play through one.

Laidlaw, who played from 1980-81 until 1989-90, remembers playing for a week or longer with headaches he experienced after a blow to the head. He was knocked out in a playoff game by New York Islanders player Bob Nystrom and still took his final two shifts.

“It was a forearm shiver to the jaw,” he recalled. “There was five minutes left in the game, and I kept playing, even though I didn’t remember playing.”

Laidlaw said he later was told that he went into the dressing room and sat at his stall for several minutes without removing his equipment.

“I was just babbling about stupid things,” he said. “I got up to walk into the training room, and I passed out.”

He was carried out on a stretcher, spent the night in the hospital and then played the next playoff game two days later with a massive headache.

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