This time last year the Tampa Bay Lightning were getting hit hard with injuries. It came to be expected to hear ‘so and so is out due to an upper body injury’ or ‘a lower body injury’. Coach Boucher even told us after a game “I’ve never seen anything like this, in my years of coaching. Never.” However his optimism kept the locker room alive, and so did all of the fresh young energy from the call-ups.
A major issue last season was concussions. It wasn’t just the Lightning, like Victor Hedman, but league-wide, teams seemed to suffer. The concussions were the talk of the town. Shanaban videos were coming out left and right. Sports talk radio filled the air waves with discussions of concussions and the effects of them. Long term and short term. They discussed ways to prevent head injuries. They considered stiffer penalties to those who cause the hits. Helmet manufacturers are experimenting with helmets to help guard better against concussions. League officials were even looking at ways to change the rules to prevent them.
The thing is that once you get a concussion, it doesn’t just heal and go away and you’re good to go. It seems some people, like Sidney Crosby, are concussion prone. Sometimes it takes just one good concussion to take you out of the game permanently. The Lightning’s own first All-Star Brian Bradley was one who had his promising career cut short because of a concussion. No matter how hard he worked to get over it, he suffered from PCS. (Post Concussion Syndrome.)
PCS is one of the lasting effects of a concussion. Victims can have permanent headaches and dizzy spells. According to a study done by UCLA another potential risk is CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). This can cause depression and even suicide, especially in older athletes who have had a number of concussions. Some people don’t feel the effects of a concussion, or they don’t feel them enough, to think that they actually have a head injury. These long term effects can come out later. Now that some light has been shed on the problem, hopefully people will take them more seriously.
Not all contact sports require helmets, such as soccer and basketball. Most woman’s sports do not require them either. They are working on a special mouth guard to absorb the shock of a hit and help guard against injury.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the hospital for an effect that she had from a concussion that she acquired when she fell. She has a blood clot located behind her, between her skull and her brain. She is on blood thinners to prevent stroke or neurological damage.
UCLA is taking part in a study, which the NCAA is helping to fund. The study will take years. They are following young athletes, in college now, and following them through out their careers. Years in the making, however, hopefully this will help give us some answers and ways to prevent our future youth from suffering the same fate.
Here’s to a healthier 2013.