Crosby Concussions: Taylor Beats Sidney Crosby Back to Ice

Sidney Crosby’s 14 year old younger sister has returned to the ice from a concussion injury before the Pittsburgh Penguins star. Taylor Crosby suffered a concussion two weeks ago and shows no lingering signs of her brain injury. The story is a triumph of high school sports over the NHL in handling concussions. Sidney Crosby suffered a head injury in the Winter Classic, returned to the ice four days later, and aggravated the injury. He has not been active since. Taylor Crosby suffered a head injury in practice, was held out for two weeks, and appears to be injury free.

The story begs two questions: Why do the Crosby parents name their children with such gender ambiguous first names, and why do high school trainers know how to handle brain injuries better than some NHL doctors?

The first rule of possible brain injuries is to be conservative. Several examples of how to handle concussions have surfaced this year.

Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins proved that returning from a concussion too early can jeopardize a career. He tried to return for a playoff series with a concussion in 2010 and ended up sidelined for half of the following season. This year, he received another concussion on a clean hit into the boards and will miss the entire 2011 campaign. Had he sat out, he may have proved less susceptible to that type of head injury. The future of his career is now uncertain.

Marian Gaborik is on the other side of the concussion argument. He proves “incidental head contact” rules do need to be changed. The New York Rangers’ star forward handled his possible head injury without the typical NHL ego. Gaborik reported in the first intermission against the Flyers that he did not feel well and sat the remaining two periods of the intense rivalry game. He missed the following six games due to the concussion he suffered on February 20th. Had he attempted to fight through the injury, his time away from the ice could have been much longer.

It took four consecutive days of skating without symptoms before Gaborik took to the ice in a game situation again. He returned to lead the Rangers to a 7-0 victory over the 1st place Flyers on March 6th, and appears to be fine.

Unfortunately, Sidney Crosby did not handle his concussion properly. In either failing to identify the symptoms of a concussion or choosing to ignore them, Crosby put himself at a great deal of risk by returning to the ice prematurely. Concussions are a confusing injury and trainers struggle to handle them properly. The only safe way to manage concussion injuries and avoid more serious complications is to rest players.

Ultimately, the players must put their livelihood and future mental health ahead of all other considerations. Trainers need to better evaluate possible concussions and pull players off the ice, regardless of the implications on games.

Congratulations to the trainer who pulled Crosby off the ice for concussion symptoms. It’s a shame her brother’s trainer failed to do the same.

Update (March 14th): Following Taylors lead, Crosby is back on the ice and skating again.

Mark Donatiello
Follow me on Twitter:  @FasterHockey ...read more

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