Opinions

Getting Lindros’d: concussions in sports serious

Poor Eric Lindros. If only his career would’ve began during the 2010-2011 season, perhaps he might have had a chance to realize the potential that coaches and scouts believed he possessed.
Drafted first overall in the 1991 NHL entry draft, Lindros fit the bill for the prototypical power forward. His hard-nosed playing style was supposed to be his biggest asset, though ultimately it was his biggest flaw.
Lindros suffered numerous severe concussions during his career. Because of these concussions, his skill declined rapidly, and he ended his career a mere shell of his former self.
But why is the NHL only acting now? In 2010 the NHL implemented Rule 48, which penalizes players for illegal checks to the head, in an attempt to curb the rising numbers of concussions in the league.
The league can also hand out supplementary discipline in the form of fines or suspensions to anyone deemed as an offender of this rule. Yet players are still getting hurt, still getting concussions.
The NFL has also taken a strong stance on head injuries by implementing their own rule that penalizes helmet-to-helmet hits with steep fines and possible suspensions. However, much like the NHL players, players in the NFL are still being seriously injured from such offenses.
It’s about time that these two full contact leagues stepped in to try and prevent concussions from decimating their star players.
Sports purists will say too much altering of the rules and tampering with the games will affect both sports, and will see hitting removed from hockey and make football players hesitant to tackle. Skeptics say that excitement and physicality will be lacking from the games. Yet both purists and skeptics fail to ask where the compassion and respect for fellow players has gone within these sports.
In a 2009 study by Montreal researchers published in a journal called Brain, it was reported that even one major hit to the head could have physical and mental ramifications for up to three decades.
Since when does a player being taken off on a stretcher because of a severe concussion constitute “highlight” material?

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