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Update: Odjick and Parker Battling Effects of Concussions


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#1 devilsrule33

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:33 PM

A must read by Adrian Dater.  And a reminder why Ryane Clowe probably shouldn't see the ice for a very long-time. And in case you don't read it all, he doesn't feel sorry for himself, isn't part of the lawsuit to the NHL, and he'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. 

 

 

Scott Parker lies in bed, dreading what might come next. Soon after awakening, his ears ring so loud they seem like the equivalent of a hundred fire alarms. Waves of nausea wash over him until he vomits. His eyes glaze over.

 

One of the toughest men to ever play in the NHL is knocked out, not from an opponent's punch, but from simply getting out of bed.

Nearly six years since he retired from the NHL as one of its toughest enforcers, Parker is finding everyday life a more fearsome opponent than any he dropped the gloves against. Some days he feels fine. Many days he finds himself paying the price of years of blows to his head. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Parker — nicknamed "The Sheriff" as a player — frequently is debilitated by seizures. He has to wear sunglasses most of the time because too much light can bring on headaches that leave him incapacitated. When Parker looks down, he cannot "track" objects. Otherwise, he gets dizzy and nauseous.

20131201__avs%20fight~p1_200.jpg
Colorado Avalanche's Scott Parker throws Columbus Blue Jackets' Jody Shelly to the ice during a fight. (Associated Press file)

He is only 35, but Parker's short-term memory resembles someone much older. He is so forgetful that he has to write down routine things such as needing to make a trip to the grocery store. He often takes pictures and videos with his phone to remember how to do things such as use tools in his woodworking and metal shop.

"I can see right away when he's having a bad day," said Francesca, his wife of 15 years. "When he wakes up, he's in a fog. I can talk to him and I can see it's just going right through him. And then he's forgetful. He has words in his head, but what comes out of his mouth is totally different than what he's thinking."

 

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Edited by devilsrule33, 04 December 2013 - 09:21 AM.

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#2 2ELIAS6

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:43 PM

wow thats terrible and hes only 35..
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#3 Colin226

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:38 PM

You know it's a problem when athletes have to use smelling salts to "wake up" (as some of them have put it) before an NHL game because adrenaline isn't enough.. I mean hell when I started playing hockey a few years back I had my first run-in with the boards and didn't even go in that hard, but still had an achy feeling and my head was foggy..

Can't imagine what that's like multiplied out for these guys who play at elite levels for years.. And players are bigger, faster, stronger now.. I really believe they need to bite the bullet and switch to Olympic sized rinks because making all of these rule changes is only a bandaid on the issue
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#4 Mike Brown

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:50 PM

Is he one of the 200 players suing the league?
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#5 The 29th Pick

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 10:51 PM

You know it's a problem when athletes have to use smelling salts to "wake up" (as some of them have put it) before an NHL game because adrenaline isn't enough.. I mean hell when I started playing hockey a few years back I had my first run-in with the boards and didn't even go in that hard, but still had an achy feeling and my head was foggy..

Can't imagine what that's like multiplied out for these guys who play at elite levels for years.. And players are bigger, faster, stronger now.. I really believe they need to bite the bullet and switch to Olympic sized rinks because making all of these rule changes is only a bandaid on the issue

Ken Dryden was on hockey night live and mentioned how back in his days, players would play 2 minute shifts, and they would coast and circle till there was a need to go full throttle, so for the most part it was a much slower game. Now every shift is only 40 seconds and full throttle by younger better fit men and the results are serious collisions that cause serious injuries.

I would personally like the bigger ice surface, but that would make the game even faster.


Edited by The 29th Pick, 01 December 2013 - 10:53 PM.

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#6 devilsfan26

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 01:54 AM

Is he one of the 200 players suing the league?

 

 

A must read by Adrian Dater.  And a reminder why Ryane Clowe probably shouldn't see the ice for a very long-time. And in case you don't read it all, he doesn't feel sorry for himself, isn't part of the lawsuit to the NHL, and he'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. 

 

 

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#7 Mike Brown

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:41 AM

Thanks devilsfan26

Edited by Mike Brown, 02 December 2013 - 09:41 AM.

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#8 ThreeCups

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:52 AM

Sad story

 

I wonder how much of his symptoms were from fighting, and how much was from the puck to the eye.  He seems pretty adamant that the puck to the eye did more damage than the fighting...


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#9 devilsrule33

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 12:55 PM

Well Parker had a bit more to say about the life of a fighter in the league and dealing with an a$$hole coach:

 

 

While Parker defends fighting, he does not grant blanket immunity to all who had authority over his career. His testimony is exactly what the NHL might fear most, someone who said he knew the risks, but watched coaches turn a blind eye to the potential damage.

 

In his heyday, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Parker was "The Sheriff," best known for settling disputes on the ice. Despite his commanding physical presence, Parker said he was subject to bullying by coaches who threatened his roster spot if he ever stopped sacrificing his body. His most harsh criticism is directed at former Avs coach Bob Hartley.

 

"He was a junior B goalie trying to tell me how to fight. He was always just degrading me. Not to be a (wimp), but he was a bully," Parker said. "And he could be because he was in a position of authority. What was I supposed to do as a rookie? Go tell him '(expletive) you'? I did that stuff at the end of my career, but at the beginning of my career I was just a chess piece to him."

 

Bullying tactics

Parker, who estimates he suffered 20 to 25 concussions, said there were several times when he was so banged up he told Hartley he needed a night off, or at least a game off from being asked to fight.

 

"He would call me a (expletive), say that Hershey (the Avs' former minor-league affiliate) would be my next stop, where I'd be 'smelling chocolate fumes all day long.' I remember I thought I had a broken foot and told him about it, and he called me a (expletive) and said Hershey would love me," Parker said. "Nobody needed to question my commitment to doing my job. But I was just constantly belittled by Bob Hartley. I really have no respect for the man."

 

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Edited by devilsrule33, 02 December 2013 - 01:04 PM.

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#10 Triumph

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:05 PM

You know it's a problem when athletes have to use smelling salts to "wake up" (as some of them have put it) before an NHL game because adrenaline isn't enough.. I mean hell when I started playing hockey a few years back I had my first run-in with the boards and didn't even go in that hard, but still had an achy feeling and my head was foggy..

Can't imagine what that's like multiplied out for these guys who play at elite levels for years.. And players are bigger, faster, stronger now.. I really believe they need to bite the bullet and switch to Olympic sized rinks because making all of these rule changes is only a bandaid on the issue

 

Wider rinks make for a worse game.  The other thing that Dryden has said is that the notion that you have to finish your checks is utter garbage and if you watch a hockey game from his era you will notice that players often do not 'finish their checks'.  A much stricter emphasis on when players can be checked without the puck would no doubt help, but I can't see this coming for many years.


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#11 Sarge18

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:50 PM

Its really interesting that the argument that fighting makes the game safer still exists when you look at the history of the league and some of its more brutal moments.  Fighting didnt stop Hunter on Turgeon, Domi on Niedermayer, Matt Cooke, Patrick Kaleta, Ulf Samuelson, Brian Marchment, Jarko Ruutu, Max Lappiere, Chris Pronger and endless other players from being some of the biggest cheap shot artists out there.  There is no deterrent other than what the league can provide through suspensions pre or post instigator rules(and is unwillling to do but more on this later).  You have guys that acknowledge that getting into the occasional fight, is part of the cost of the way they play, but its not going to stop them from doing what they do.

 

People still talk about how no one hit Gretzky because of having tough guys on that oilers team.  No one hit Gretzky because he was damn hard to hit, he didnt put himself into those sorts of positions just like Joe Sakic didnt.  Fighting didnt save Mario Lemiuex from taking incredible abuse during his career.

 

Its funny, I'm not even anti fighting.  I just feel like fighting's role in the game has taken on some mystical level that goes well beyond its actual importance on the ice.  If you read through something like Dryden's book, and how the Habs approached playing the Broad St Bully Flyers teams it puts a real interesting spin on the whole thing.  Those Flyers teams thrived on fighting and the chaos of playing a physical game.  It took a single hit from Larry Robinson and ensuing fight to set the tone for that initial series and those that followed.  No enforcer, no protection role but an instance where a hit and fight certainly had an impact on the way two teams approached each other.  Those instances rarely happen anymore.  The Devils certainly had that element with Stevens through say 2003.  It is amazing how things have progressed from those Flyers teams to the big bad Bruins teams to what the modern role of fighting has become.

 

But back to the role of the league.  The league and the so called Department of Player Safety are the only ones who can regulate this stuff out of the game by being far stricter on players who engage in dirty play.  It looked like the tide was turning on the Torres suspension from the hit on Hossa, but the league backed off when pressure was applied.  Things like Pronger getting a 1 game suspension for a chicken wing to Dean McAmmonds head in the finals are jokes.  I'll be the first to say i love a good hard hitting game/series.  But it has to be honest, and once a guy crosses the line there should be no question of the severity of the penalty.  It is laughable how the league takes a tough stance every pre season to only back off once the games actually start to matter again in the regular season, to making the whole process a joke come playoff time.  The problem is I'm not sure they can get as tough as they want without the PA pitching a fit.  Which will complicate everything else going on with the leagues lovely labor relations.


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#12 ATLL765

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 03:10 PM

Its really interesting that the argument that fighting makes the game safer still exists when you look at the history of the league and some of its more brutal moments.  Fighting didnt stop Hunter on Turgeon, Domi on Niedermayer, Matt Cooke, Patrick Kaleta, Ulf Samuelson, Brian Marchment, Jarko Ruutu, Max Lappiere, Chris Pronger and endless other players from being some of the biggest cheap shot artists out there.  There is no deterrent other than what the league can provide through suspensions pre or post instigator rules(and is unwillling to do but more on this later).  You have guys that acknowledge that getting into the occasional fight, is part of the cost of the way they play, but its not going to stop them from doing what they do.

 

People still talk about how no one hit Gretzky because of having tough guys on that oilers team.  No one hit Gretzky because he was damn hard to hit, he didnt put himself into those sorts of positions just like Joe Sakic didnt.  Fighting didnt save Mario Lemiuex from taking incredible abuse during his career.

 

Its funny, I'm not even anti fighting.  I just feel like fighting's role in the game has taken on some mystical level that goes well beyond its actual importance on the ice.  If you read through something like Dryden's book, and how the Habs approached playing the Broad St Bully Flyers teams it puts a real interesting spin on the whole thing.  Those Flyers teams thrived on fighting and the chaos of playing a physical game.  It took a single hit from Larry Robinson and ensuing fight to set the tone for that initial series and those that followed.  No enforcer, no protection role but an instance where a hit and fight certainly had an impact on the way two teams approached each other.  Those instances rarely happen anymore.  The Devils certainly had that element with Stevens through say 2003.  It is amazing how things have progressed from those Flyers teams to the big bad Bruins teams to what the modern role of fighting has become.

 

But back to the role of the league.  The league and the so called Department of Player Safety are the only ones who can regulate this stuff out of the game by being far stricter on players who engage in dirty play.  It looked like the tide was turning on the Torres suspension from the hit on Hossa, but the league backed off when pressure was applied.  Things like Pronger getting a 1 game suspension for a chicken wing to Dean McAmmonds head in the finals are jokes.  I'll be the first to say i love a good hard hitting game/series.  But it has to be honest, and once a guy crosses the line there should be no question of the severity of the penalty.  It is laughable how the league takes a tough stance every pre season to only back off once the games actually start to matter again in the regular season, to making the whole process a joke come playoff time.  The problem is I'm not sure they can get as tough as they want without the PA pitching a fit.  Which will complicate everything else going on with the leagues lovely labor relations.

There's different rules for different guys and it's ridiculous. Like you mentioned Torres gets a HUGE suspension, guys who aren't Torres....get nothing. You hit the nail on the head about the league backing off more and more as the year goes on. Pre-Season, they hand them out like candy....regular season, depends on who you are....post season, forget it.


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#13 devils102

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:38 PM

Amazing story--thanks for sharing.

 

Most unsettling part may be this.

 

 

Sitting across the room from her husband one recent day, Francesca said, "Parks, if Dr. Kelly walked into this room right now and cleared you to play, would you play?"

"I would," he replied.

"See," Francesca said, turning to another observer. "It never goes away."

 

It's hard to protect guys from themselves. It also shows how much work the NHL has to do to undo the culture of fighting that is so much a part of the game in Canada and the US.


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#14 ATLL765

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:19 PM

Amazing story--thanks for sharing.

 

Most unsettling part may be this.

 

 

It's hard to protect guys from themselves. It also shows how much work the NHL has to do to undo the culture of fighting that is so much a part of the game in Canada and the US.

Of course, the responsibility is completely on the doctor to tell them when it's too dangerous for them to play. These guys train their whole lives to play in the NHL and to tell them they can't can be something that's very hard to accept.

I honestly think it might be better if the NHL hired the team doctors, that way they would not feel obligated to the team they're working for since they would be paid and employed by the NHL, not the team. Might be even better if the NHLPA employed them.


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#15 mouse

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:01 PM

Of course, the responsibility is completely on the doctor to tell them when it's too dangerous for them to play. These guys train their whole lives to play in the NHL and to tell them they can't can be something that's very hard to accept.

I honestly think it might be better if the NHL hired the team doctors, that way they would not feel obligated to the team they're working for since they would be paid and employed by the NHL, not the team. Might be even better if the NHLPA employed them.

This. We need to see this in every sport, college and pro. Possibly high school as well, considering some of the sh!t I've seen the football guys at the school I work at do. Logistically, it would be tough for the amateur leagues to do it, but it should be a cinch for the pros.


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#16 devilsrule33

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:18 AM

Another former fighter having some serious issues:

 

 

Odjick, who has spent the past five days in a psychiatric unit at a Gatineau, Que., hospital, was not in a good state prior to Bure’s ceremony, his business manager Kumi Kimura said Tuesday.

Odjick and close friends blame his health problems on concussions suffered while playing hockey and serving as an enforcer who frequently got involved in on-ice fights.

 

“He was way gone at Pavel’s thing,” Kimura said. “We were walking on eggshells.”

Odjick was admitted to the psychiatric unit at UBC Hospital in early September, but was released after only a few days.

 

“We wanted him in the hospital until two or three days before Pavel’s event so he would be calm, be rested and get on the regular meds that control his brain,” Kimura said. “Our goal was to get him to Pavel’s retirement. He got there, but he walked out in sneakers and a hat when he should be wearing a suit. He knows better. That just wasn’t him.”

 

 

Reporter Marc de Foy said Odjick told him two years ago that he was struggling with post-traumatic symptoms and has cognitive difficulties.

“When you get hit in the head a lot, it’s hard for the brain,” de Foy quoted Odjick as saying.

Odjick also told de Foy: “I’m here for my concussions. Since I retired in 2002, I have spent 32 months at the hospital.”

http://www.vancouver...l#ixzz2mW2DR4BL


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#17 mrthemike

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:18 AM

Fighting is so on its way out. 


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#18 '7'

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:26 AM

Fighting is so on its way out. 

 

and you know for certain that these injuries are solely the result of fighting (which is what these players did 3% of the time) and not sticks to the head, elbows to the head, pucks to the head, clean and dirty open ice hits, clean and dirty hits against the boards...you know the general effects of playing hockey.

 

But yes, it's those evil nasty fights (where at times *maybe* 1 punch connects) that's to blame

 

You want to get rid of all this. Ban hockey. You can't pick and choose. We know there are little girly men who want fighting gone. If they get there wish, 10 and 15 years from now there will still be Odjicks and Parkers suffering.


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#19 Triumph

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:42 AM

and you know for certain that these injuries are solely the result of fighting (which is what these players did 3% of the time) and not sticks to the head, elbows to the head, pucks to the head, clean and dirty open ice hits, clean and dirty hits against the boards...you know the general effects of playing hockey.

 

But yes, it's those evil nasty fights (where at times *maybe* 1 punch connects) that's to blame

 

You want to get rid of all this. Ban hockey. You can't pick and choose. We know there are little girly men who want fighting gone. If they get there wish, 10 and 15 years from now there will still be Odjicks and Parkers suffering.

 

You can't pick and choose?  You mean how fighting is illegal - resulting in an automatic ejection - in basically every other men's league in the world besides those in North America?

 

Scott Parker played 5 minutes a game in his career.  How often was he being bodychecked?  

 

This Odjick thing - who knows what that is the result of, probably head injuries but lots of people without head injuries have similar mental problems.  It's clear he's had other issues related to that, though.


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#20 mrthemike

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:54 AM

and you know for certain that these injuries are solely the result of fighting (which is what these players did 3% of the time) and not sticks to the head, elbows to the head, pucks to the head, clean and dirty open ice hits, clean and dirty hits against the boards...you know the general effects of playing hockey.

 

But yes, it's those evil nasty fights (where at times *maybe* 1 punch connects) that's to blame

 

You want to get rid of all this. Ban hockey. You can't pick and choose. We know there are little girly men who want fighting gone. If they get there wish, 10 and 15 years from now there will still be Odjicks and Parkers suffering.

 

Clearly blows to the head are incredibly bad for the human brain and fighting is something that, I feel, can easily be eliminated from the game without drastically changing the game. The trend has definitely been towards fighters having major issues with symptoms and I don't think its a stretch to assume that the fights could be a cause here. 

 

The "girly men" comment is childish. We tend to forget how vulnerable and important the human brain is. Check the video below.. Maybe NSFW for some. 

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=jHxyP-nUhUY


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