Friday, November 14, 2008

Conflicting reports

From retired professionals, we hear haunting quotes from Kieth Primeau:
"They just don't know the long-term ramifications of head injuries," Primeau said from his home in the Philadelphia area. "I know I'll never be 100 per cent again. I know that time doesn't heal this. In my case, it's inevitable. I don't live in fear of the future, but I recognize the damage I've done to my brain. I force myself to get up every morning, force myself to deal with everyday life. When you can't do that, it means you've succumbed. And I'm not prepared to do that."(cite)
and from Al Toon:
For years after Toon retired because of post-concussion syndrome, he still felt the scary effects: headaches, nausea, dizziness, you name it. He said that for a while he couldn't even sit in an office conference room for a half-hour meeting, because focusing for too long hurt too much. "For a couple of years it was pretty difficult, because there really wasn't very much I could besides own a building and collect a check," Toon said in a telephone interview this week. "To do anything that would require research and mental exercising proved to be very difficult." (cite)

Then you read of 15 year olds with a history of 5 concussions who are sidelined, parents of teens pulling them from competition after 5 concussions, and other college athletes who have the sense to retire before they end up permanently disabled... you even have pleas from kids such as:
...frustration because, even at the highest levels of hockey, they don't seem to understand the severity of head injuries."Unless someone gets severely injured or paralyzed, no one in the NHL's going to get the point," she says. "And that's what frustrates me."

Contrast that with professional athletes such as Ike Hilliard, who appear to be ignoring conventional wisdom and denying concussion symptoms:
The St. Petersburg Times reported that Hilliard was suffering from the lingering effects of a concussion he sustained in Tampa Bay's game vs. Seattle on Oct. 19. According to the report, Hilliard, who underwent spinal fusion surgery as a rookie in 1997, still was suffering from headaches and likely would miss Sunday's game vs. Minnesota and possibly more.(cite)

But Hilliard denies the following quotes refer to concussions
"I've been dealing with something on and off for the last five years, but now it's constant,'' Hilliard told the Times. "Obviously, after the hit, it's something I've got to get control of."

"Everybody is entitled to write what they want to write, but I'm not having any issues with my concussion," said Hilliard. "I'm dealing with issues just like everybody in this locker room. It is just wear and tear from the season.

"Seriously, the quotes are word for word. It says nothing about a concussion. I said I was dealing with some other stuff. It is wear and tear from the season. I did not say the word ‘concussion' at all."

However, the most surprising "non-concussion" diagnosis comes from a player and coach:
(Frank) Gore took a hit Monday night and said he had his neck positioned in the wrong way and strained it. He told reporters yesterday that he was having bad headaches and thought he might have suffered a concussion, but Singletary must have set him straight because later in the day he went back to the media and said he didn't mean that. (cite)

Coash stated:
"Frank Gore is a football player. He does not know what a concussion is," Singletary said. "It may feel like a concussion. I talked to Fergie (trainer Jeff Ferguson) who is one of the finest trainers in the country."

"In all honesty, I don't want to go there. To me, he's going to play." Asked when that determination would be made, Singletary said, "Today. He's gonna play. As far as I know, he's gonna play."

If a player says he has a concussion, and he has been reading and hearing all about concussion testing and management, shouldn't the coach listen?