I'm a huge Crosby and Penguins fan, but I never delved too deep with this in the hope that he was just 100% and performing great.
So we know for sure that Crosby got a concussion at the Winter Classic, right? Did he also suffer a vertebrae injury on that hit? Is there a chance that he only got a neck injury and it was severe and mistreated?
On January 7th he gets hit from behind by Hedman. Was this another concussion? A vertebrae injury? Exacerbating the first concussion or the first vertebrae injury?
Don't think we'll ever know the truth, but if I had to speculate, I'd say he suffered the concussion and vertebrae injury during the WC but played the next game because he didn't completely disclose the injury or didn't really feel the effects of it until the Hedman hit.
I remember the TB game seeming kind of strange for Crosby since they were absolutely dominating TB, up like 5-0 in the 1st and eventually got it up to 7-0 or 8-0 and he seemed to have a really quiet game despite his team just destroying TB and Crosby being on the best tear of his career. I'm guessing he was feeling out of it a bit and was trying to play through it or hadn't yet completely felt the symptoms (TB game was 4 days after WC, it's possible he felt groggy after the WC but it subsided in the days between games and he didn't push himself physical much until the next game).
Once he received the Hedman hit, it probably exacerbated how he was feeling. I don't think he suffered a second concussion but for the first time was like "Man, I feel like complete ****". I'm guessing the concussion symptoms eventual went away, the reason why he was able to come back and play in some games in Nov. & Dec. but the vertebrae issue went unchecked and was the main cause of the subsequent problems. Crosby's recovery seemed to take a big step forward once the vertebrate problem was identified, making it my lead speculation that he suffered the initial concussion and vertebrae injury at the same time, recovered from the concussion but had re-occurring problems because of the undiagnosed vertebrate injury, which had symptoms that were easily misunderstood to be stemming from a concussion instead of the neck problems.
That's my theory on the whole fiasco, take it for what it's worth, not much.
He had one concussion that they claim happened on the Hedman hit but others like Keith Primeau have speculated that the hit at the winter classic could have been the source of his problems and maybe the Hedman hit just exacerbated his symptoms.
He also had a weird deep tissue injury that has been linked to concussion symptoms in the past with other people but they don't know if it was causing his symptoms because he did actually have a severe concussion, not just the deep tissue injury.
From everything I've gathered, I feel like he may have had a more serious neck injury than people understood at the time, and that said injury was what caused such a long delay vs. a concussion-only situation. As to how the neck injury happened, I'd say 70% Hedman, 30% stupid habit of whipping his head back at various times in his career, which might've weakened tissues in that area or made him more susceptible than he would've been otherwise. But I'm 0% doctor so that's all conjecture.
To me the way things panned out suggests it was more than just a concussion that caused his symptoms and problem and the duration of the problem. Let's hope his neck is stronger now and that he never again whips his head back to draw a penalty because Sid is human and humans do stupid things sometimes, and that is really ****ing stupid.
I don't think he understood how injured he was on the first one. The Hedman hit was from behind, but perfectly routine. Probably, could've gooned him up a bit. Kicked his ash or whatever. I don't think the Kreijci elbow putting him out really surprised anyone.
The blindside hit is clearly what did the most harm.
It's been confirmed that he had second impact syndrome after the Hedman hit. He was confirmed dead after the game, but the league kept it a secret to avoid the PR ramifications. He was secretly replaced by a lookalike, Matt Duchene's cousin Cletus Duchene.