Sunday, February 17, 2019

NHL Concussion Discussion

A hot topic for many sports leagues of late has been that of concussions, most notably the NFL and the NHL. Articles have been written, discussions have been held, studies have been conducted, rulings have been handed down, and movies have been made. So what exactly is being done by the NHL to slow down this trend? Lets take a look at the subject from the 2019 perspective. 

First of all, we will not be commenting on the current lawsuit situation which has been focused on to death. Let's will leave well enough alone. Let us begin with taking note of some examples of players who have had their careers ended due to concussions. Most notably we have the Eric Lindros case. A Phillie star entering the league with a lot of attention, he was the target of many a cheap hit. After a number of concussions he decided to hang up his skates and try to live with the brain damage inflicted. Marc Savard is another player, this time a Bruin, who had his career shattered due to sever concussion. Then we have Keith Primeau, Chris Pronger, Pat LaFontaine, and the list goes on and on. With so many players being forced into retirement due to concussions, you are likely asking yourself, so what? What can be done by sports leagues, specifically the NHL in this case, to drastically reduce this type of injury? 

It is true that the players and their families know very well what risks they are taking when they join the league. Which seems to be a fact often ignored by those bringing these lawsuits forward, they need to take some of the ownership themselves, especially since many with career-ending concussions, are guilty themselves of inflicting cheap hits on their fellow players. However the league does need to take further actions to prevent this from happening. 

They are not taking this trend by idly sitting back and watching it happen. With all the attention lately they have been doing more to reduce these stats, but the question remains, what more can be done? First let us take a look at what they have already done, then we can look at a variety of options available to them. The league has looked into reducing and nearly eliminating fighting. Many people  enjoy watching a good fight, and we can all see how it is seen as a necessary to stand up for a teammate. That being said though, is dropping the gloves the necessary reaction? No. In fact it is a dangerous and risky way to defend ones teammate. We now know the risks of fighting, and how likely a fight is to lead to permanent brain damage in the long run. The league has eliminated staged fights, which is great, those were pathetic and ridiculous, serving no justifiable purpose. They have also made it so players cannot remove their helmet before a fight. It has been proposed that fighting be completely taken out of the league. Players can find more creative and productive means of defending each other. 

Next we look at a few other factors. The league has changed to hybrid icing, which was hated at first, but now people can see the purpose of this, as  fewer players crash into the boards after the play. The NHL and NHLPA have also looked into cheap hits, mainly hits from behind and checking to the head. With speed taking over the game and bruisers exiting the league, these changes are necessary as many star players are much smaller, so more at risk of injury from cheap hits. What more could the league do in terms of these hits? One huge difference maker would be to penalize all blindside hits, and look into stiffer suspensions. In terms of the Canucks for example, two hits in particular over the past few years come tp mind, although these examples could come from any team in the league. The first would be a blindside hit to Daniel Sedin as he skated into the offensive zone, he was creamed from the blindside, no penalty given, although he left and missed games with a concussion. Another example could be Sven Baertschi he has had a couple of blindside hits against him, which have resulted in many a game missed from concussions. If you dig deeper, you could look at many other players including the superstar player Sidney Crosby. These blindside hits are dangerous, inconsiderate, and quite irresponsible and the NHL needs to do a lot more to prevent these hits from taking place, put more disciplinary action in place to deter these infractions. Best way to avoid lawsuits against you? Take action to prevent the cause of the lawsuit in the first place.

The league has also implemented concussion protocols for during a game. In 2011 teams had to watch for concussion symptoms and pull players suspected of having sustained a concussion until they are cleared to return by a physician. The flaw in this was that teams could easily choose to ignore these symptoms, or players could hide symptoms to continue to play. To prevent this the league took further action in 2015. A league official now watches for situations where players may have sustained a concussion. If they deem that the player may have sustained a concussion, the player is removed and must sit out until a physician clears them. This is a great rule, but it is still flawed, and it is unclear how they can overcome this flaw, but concussions often don't show symptoms immediately, often it takes 24-48 for these symptoms to present themselves. As a result the league needs to much more strict with this protocol. 

Another thing that the league should be looking at implementing, is a concussion threshold. What is meant by this is to set a maximum number of concussions limit. We currently have several players who have had several concussions over the course of their careers and yet they are still playing. Sven Beartschi, as mentioned before, has had the most concussions in active players, leading the way with 6 known concussions. Is it safe to allow these players to continue their careers and risk further brain damage? It seems irresponsible to do so. What threshold should be proposed? Five seems like a good number, but doctors should be the ones to sit down with the NHL and NHLPA to decide this number. Any players who reach this threshold should be made to be on LTIR for the remainder of their contracts, then forced into a retirement. Many other jobs are found by retired players, so it is not like they would be hung out to dry. At the end of the day, their safety and protection of their brains must be first and foremost. 

Responsibility falls on every member of the NHL. The league, owners, players, coaches,  trainers, and the NHLPA. Together a solution must be found, further action needs to be taken. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Interesting Week

Early in the week, but it has certainly been an interesting one so far. Monday started off helping a young writer believe in herself again. Writing can be a lonely business, underappreciated, unless you are the fraction of a percent who make it big. Then went into a day of solving dozens of tech issues, and not selling anything. Then today I woke up to an Instagram message from someone considering suicide who needed someone to talk to. By the grace of God, I was able to help her and be used by God to minister to her. Which led into my taking up an ask for an editor when her book project is complete. Followed by my booking in some more book readings and writing workshops in schools. My October is slammed and November is starting to book up. And the week is only half over. God is good! Can I get an Amen?!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hunting Black Dragon Now Available

My sequel, Kids on a Case:Hunting Black Dragon, is now available for purchase, one quick and easy way to purchase is through the itunes store! 

Check it out and let your friends know!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Blog Location

I am VERY excited to announce that I will be transitioning my blog to this website. Feel free to follow/become a member for regular updates on posts. I have entered an initial blog post as a welcome and explanation. Grow with me, as I grow  Check it out below!

The end of great times, and the beginning of new adventures!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Battle of Good and Evil

A poem close to my heart. Written based upon my experience in attempted suicide, that, thankfully, was stopped by the Good Lord. Hope you enjoy and take in the meaning behind the words. 

Battle of Good and Evil

In these times my heart sinks, my mind is filled with dread
Sorrow clouds all my thoughts; my lips can no longer smile
Tears pour down my anguished face as I see the pain of others
My gut is filled with knots and turns from my terrible angst
Trembling I hit the cold ground, weak from desperate sorrow
My feet and legs have lost all will to hold my heavy weight
Hands that no longer hold or grasp; arms that no longer lift
Helplessness fills my very being, unable to give aide
Screams fill my aching ears, my eardrums threatening to burst
Blood encompasses my nostrils, burning itself into my brain
Bitterness lights itself on my tongue, torturing my taste buds
Sourness rapes my mind, forcing its way into my memory
All hope seems lost, faith ebbs, disappearing like smoke
Darkness encompasses the very existence of humanity
Storm clouds fill the sky, swirling in bitter angry circles
The wind whips furiously, dust tears harshly at my face
Death is immanent, roaring like a black train in the night

But wait, all hope may not be lost, some may yet remain
Light bursts through the darkness, piercing the cloud’s heart
Thunder is silenced and lightning out shone by the sunlight
Cutting wind is calmed, replaced with a peaceful silence
The sourness in my memory, overthrown with joyful throngs
The bitterness on my tongue turns to a beautiful sweetness
Scents of flowers creeps into my nostrils, replacing the blood
Joyful cries burst through the screams, ears leaping for joy
Strength comes to my limbs as I push to my feet again
Hands grabbing my sword, arms lifting them high in the air
My gut now untangles its knots, jumping back to life again
Tears of joy rain down my face, glittering in the sun’s rays
A smile breaks my solemn lips, my heart pumping excitedly
We have been freed from our dreadful, painful sorrows
Hope is restored; victory is within our straining grasps
Victory means survival, survival is to live another day
To live another day, is to laugh in the face of immanent death

Thanks for reading. Hope this poem can mean as much to you all as it means to me. As always let me know your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share, just give credit where credit is due. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

New Website

Got a new website for a combined space for my writing of novels and poems, as well as all of my photography. Looking forward to having everyone check it out and give my their thoughts.

Hoping this will be a convenient way for everyone to find my posts. And maybe buy a few pieces, as well as getting information they may need.