Troubling concussion stories like former NHLer Macoun’s could be the tip of the iceberg

Adam Proteau
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It’s always unnerving to hear troubling concussion-related stories such as the one former NHL defenseman Jamie Macoun told during the announcement of Canadian government funding for head injuries Monday. But not liking to hear the toll taken on players doesn’t mean their stories are going to go away. In fact, if the NFL’s concussion trials and tribulations are any indication of what’s ahead for the NHL, what’s ahead are many more stories like Macoun’s.

Don’t get me wrong – Canada’s federal government deserves kudos for the $4.3 million they’ll spend on research into concussion diagnosis, treatment and prevention, particularly in children and youth. And there’s no denying the NHL has made strides in the way it deals with head injuries.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t do much for the players who’ve been put through the wringer. And those are the players – in particular, the ones who played in the NHL’s post-obstruction era, when the speed of the game increased dramatically – whose retirement stories could make Macoun’s pale in comparison. I certainly hope I’m wrong and the horrors we’ve heard about aren’t the concussion iceberg’s tip, but you’re best advised to steel your stomach in case I’m not.