Discussion of Minnesota Girls High School Hockey

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Two concussions & a severe whip lash

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:19 pm

Two concussions & a severe whip lash

Maya Olivia
“I didn’t see it" isn’t an accaptable excuse from refs in girls hockey anymore after 2 concussions and severe whip lash from my teammates this weekend. Enough's enough. Protect our heads!

Today’s game after myself getting cross checked from behind in the neck and then my teammate getting slashed in the head enough was enough I went up to the ref and asked for an explanation guess what the answer was “I didn’t see it” yet again.

Talking to these refs after each of these plays I got the same answer “I didn’t see it” this is not an acceptable excuse. OUR HEADS NEED TO BE PROTECTED.

This weekend in the midget A division there were only two refs for each game which is disgusting but to make matters worse my team left this weekend with two girls with concussions and one girl with severe whip lash.

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Emily Antony's multiple medical issues

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:38 pm

Emily Antony's multiple medical issues

Nothing was going to keep Emily Antony from her fifth and final season of college hockey.

The Minnesota State senior has been through plenty over her hockey career, enough that she’s a bit of a curiosity.

Twice since her senior year in high school, Antony has had to re-learn how to walk after suffering paralysis in her lower body. She also had multiple hip surgeries and an appendectomy that contributed to her missing the majority of her junior season. She received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA for that year, allowing her this fifth season, which begins this weekend.

“I’m literally a medical mystery,” said Antony, who said she’s also suffered six broken arms and passed 10 kidney stones in her 23 years. “But I was determined to come back for a fifth year.”

Minnesota State will open their season on Friday with the first game of a nonconference series against Rensselaer in Troy, New York.

Antony will be on the ice on the Mavericks’ top forward line, wearing the C as one of the team’s captains.

“She’s been through everything with this team,” said sophomore defender Anna Wilgren, Antony’s road-trip roommate. “And with all she’s been through, she keeps coming back. She battles back. That’s the type of teammate I want to have.”

After being granted the extra season of eligibility, Antony added a second major to her academic load. She’s studying exercise science and psychology and is minoring in sports medicine. She plans on going to graduate school for physical therapy.

Those interests were, in part, inspired by her own rehabilitation needs.

Playing for the Minnesota Revolution AAA team prior to attending Minnesota State, Antony went back-first into the boards during a game at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and ended up paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors called it “a spinal concussion,” and feeling started to return to her toes about a week later.

“I had to use a walker and learn to walk again,” she said.

Walking wasn’t going to be enough for Antony. She was going to keep playing hockey, too, and honor her commitment to Minnesota State.

“I told my dad, ‘This isn’t the end. I’m going to come back. I’m going to play,’” Antony said.

Antony played 36 games as a freshman at Minnesota State during coach John Harrington’s first season. She had six goals and 16 points, the latter still a career-high.

The second time Antony lost feeling was during her sophomore year at Minnesota State, following a seven-goal, 14-point season. She wasn’t on the ice at the time, and a teammate had to take her to the hospital.

“That came out of nowhere,” she said, again calling herself “a medical mystery.”

The second incident delayed a scheduled hip surgery, and a later appendectomy led to some other complications, and her junior season was shuttered after 10 games.

“It took months of therapy, but I knew I would fight through it,” she said.

Last season, Antony played in 30 games, scoring two goals and assisting on 11 others for 13 points, giving her 48 points in 108 career games.

“For all those things she’s been through, they haven’t affected her hand skills or her thinking skills,” Harrington said. “As far as her feel for the game and thinking of the game, no one is better on our team. We need her production; we need her to produce. She can make plays. She can see things developing. She has great vision for the game.”

Antony was also determined to return to the Mavericks to see through a program turnaround. The Mavericks had three wins during her freshman year and were 9-19-7 last season, finishing out of last place in the WCHA for the first time since 2014 and avoiding a 20-loss season for the first time since 2009.

“Just looking back at what the program was like when I came here ... it’s exciting to see the progress that’s been made,” Antony said. “I’d like to say, ‘Yeah, I went to that program, and I helped make a difference.’”

There are expectations for further improvement this year.

Antony is one of six seniors on the roster. Fellow captain and defender McKenzie Sederberg is another. Junior forward Brittyn Fleming and Wilgren are the alternate captains.

Fleming is one of two returning 20-point scorers, along with sophomore forward Brooke Bryant, who led the Mavericks with 11 goals as a freshman.

“We have some good depth among the skill players on our top three lines,” Harrington said. “And we have some speed. We can get around the rink now.”

Wilgren was an All-WCHA Rookie Team selection last season, scoring 12 points from the blue line.

Joining her on the rookie list and also earning Second Team All-WCHA honors was goaltender Abigail Levy. Levy played in 34 of 35 games and had a .924 save percentage, but she’ll have competition this year from Calla Frank of White Bear Lake, named Minnesota’s top high school senior goaltender last winter.

“I think we’re in great hands at that position,” Harrington said of the goalies.

After playing RPI on Friday and Saturday, the Mavericks will open their home and WCHA schedules on Oct. 4-5 against No. 2 Minnesota.

Minnesota State women's hockey: 'Medical mystery' Antony returns for fifth season ... 1f1c0.html

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Adversity brings perspective for St. Cloud State goalie Janine Adler

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:01 am

Adversity brings perspective for St. Cloud State goalie Janine Adler

Forgive Janine Adler if she takes a little extra time to savor her final season at St. Cloud State. The mere fact that the goaltender even is playing is remarkable, given what she’s gone through over the past six months.

“Adversity always helps,’’ Adler said, “and gives you perspective.’’

Adversity for Adler came on April 7 in Espoo, Finland, where the goalie was playing for her native Switzerland against the United States in the women’s hockey world championship. Adler, 24, had a mammoth workload against the eventual champions, facing 57 shots in an 8-0 loss.

“We had a fairly tough game, and especially as a goalie you’re always focusing,’’ she said. “A lot of stress during that game, and I sweated a lot and lost a lot of minerals.’’

Adler said she drank a lot of water before the game, resulting in a chemical imbalance. When she returned to her hotel room after the game, she felt dizzy and nauseous, and an epileptic seizure followed.

“It was not a normal epileptic seizure where patients can come back by themselves,’’ said Adler, who was placed in a medically induced coma for five days. She remained hospitalized in Finland for another week.

Long road back

Adler’s road to recovery of health spanned three months after she returned home to Zurich. She saw a neurologist to “have them scan whatever was wrong with my brain,’’ she said. “Then I was on epileptic medication for a couple weeks, which I hoping to get rid of fairly quickly because I made me super tired. I could not recover as I wished with these medications in my body.’’

The effects of the seizure, Adler said, were much like those of a concussion. “My brain just needed to recover. Everything loud, everything super busy was difficult.’’

There also was a complication in her recovery. While in the hospital after the seizure, Adler required intubation. Her lungs became infected and she developed pneumonia. “That held me back from training even more than the brain injury.’’

Slowly, Adler returned to health. She started training lightly two months after the seizure, then was cleared to train at 100 percent after three months. And six months later? “Absolutely perfect,’’ she said. “My parents say it’s an updated version of myself.’’

A budding author

A mass communications major who aspires to be a journalist or author in her post-hockey career, Adler used her rehab time to reflect and write about her ordeal. Over a six- to eight-week span this summer — “two months after the storm in my head’’ -- she wrote a book in German titled, “The First Thought: A report about health and the ancient animal in us’’.

She explained that her motivation to write the book was to help those who were with her while she was in the coma.

“I really didn’t experience it emotionally because I was asleep and was focusing on recovering,’’ she said. “But people around me were thinking about, ‘What could happen? What if she doesn’t wake up?’ I had a very heavy heart after talking to people about my surroundings. So, I had the urge to write it down and just let go of everything.

“The book was meant for my parents,’’ she added, “because they probably suffered the most.’’

Return to the ice

With her health scare in the past, Adler is enthused for her senior season with the Huskies, who aim to improve on their 10-25-2 record from 2018-19. She made 33 saves in a 5-2 season-opening loss to Ohio State on Friday, and her goal is “to have the best season of my four years and to be successful this year. New beginnings, new coaches, an absolutely even-keel focused team.’’

Adler, who had a 4-14-1 record last year but a strong 2.63 goals-against average and .935 save %, splits time in goal with junior Emma Polusny. “With her and Emma Polusny in net, two of the best goaltenders in the country, we’re really excited,’’ said Huskies coach Steve Macdonald, in his first year in charge after five as an assistant. “That’s where it starts.’’

Macdonald first recruited Adler when he was a Minnesota Duluth assistant while scouting a tournament in the Czech Republic. “You see this shorter [5-foot-5] goalie, and her movement and mobility were outstanding,’’ Macdonald said. “They ended up losing that game to Canada, but she was the reason it wasn’t worse. Her ability to compete and her footwork and technique — those skills draw you to a player first. Then you get to know them, and that’s what drew me to her.’’

Her game, Adler said, mirrors her calm, thoughtful personality. He pointed to a tight, 2-0 loss to eventual NCAA runner-up Wisconsin in front of 15,000-plus at the Kohl Center during her freshman season. “They were coming at us. She just stood tall,’’ Macdonald said. “She had this calmness and maturity that helped our whole team respond. She was like, ‘Yep, I’ve got it, Coach.’ ’’

The recruiting process took a couple of years, but Adler eventually landed at St. Cloud State. There were adjustments to American culture and to the style of play in the women’s game. In Switzerland, she began her hockey career playing against boys’ teams.

“I never had it in my mind to be playing women’s hockey in the future. I had the dream to play men’s hockey,’’ Adler said. “At that point, [St. Cloud State] was the best opportunity to experience a different culture and to do hockey at such a high level and academics at such a high level.’’

Macdonald is thrilled to have both the player and person in his program.

“First off, she’s just an exceptional human being,’’ he said of Adler, who speaks five languages — her native Swiss German, German, French, Italian and English. “She’s extremely emotionally intelligent. She’s very self-aware. When she talks, it means something. There’s always a purpose and always well thought-out. She’s very highly respected by her teammates.’’ That respect includes Adler’s teammates voting her team captain.

Her senior season has started, and Adler plans to make the most of it. After that fateful day in Finland, she’s filled with joy that she can play hockey.

“Absolutely. I already appreciated being able to play and step on the ice every day before,’’ she said. “Now, it’s even more with being back with the team.’’

Adversity brings perspective for St. Cloud State goalie Janine Adler
A serious health scare at last spring's world championships has the thoughtful senior from Zurich, Switzerland, enjoying every moment on the ice.
Read more: ... 562429042/

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"4 diagnosed concussions, 2 of which were sustained during my collegiate hockey career"

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:44 am

"4 diagnosed concussions, 2 of which were sustained during my collegiate hockey career"

Before I go too deep on this I’d like to appreciate the work that The Athletic is doing to illuminate problems within the concussion research community. It’s one of the most important medical topics of our time and it’s clear that things are off.

That being said... This video series is centered around the lack of inclusion of LD/ADHD athletes in post concussive research studies. However, I feel that the series does a poor job of framing LD/ADHD athletes that honestly does just as much harm as it does good.

And I’m no expert. I don’t have a degree to study brain trauma or LD/ADHD. But I have had four diagnosed concussions, two of which were sustained during my collegiate hockey career. I also have ADHD, I received that formal diagnosis while in college as well.

Until literally 4 months ago, I BARELY understood ADHD and how pervasive it is through every single aspect of my life and so many others. Since then, I’ve spent hundreds of hours consuming everything I can on ADHD and in turn realizing who I really am and how I work.

And herein lies my issue with the video series. The series has or at at least conveys the same level of understanding ADHD as I had 4 months ago, you know it... almost everyone in our society does. [insert short attention span stereotype here] It’s so much more than that

This entire series is dedicated to raising awareness of the omission of ADHD athlete results in UNC’s concussion research and offers little information on what ADHD actually is, what it can look like, or even how it feels to have

idk maybe I’m overreacting (yep, that’s a symptom) but if my entire story is centered on a variable group that was purposefully omitted from findings, I’d spend a little more time actually illustrating the condition that left those affected on the outside in the first place

Or maybe include some interviews with individuals who are directly affected idk oh well. thanks for hanging Happy ADHD Awareness Month

Failure to Disclose:
The mysterious absence of critical data from UNC’s concussion research (Part 1) ... WM6ES5ykL4

Lindsey Brown ... 8858618882

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Brain Injury From Concussion May Linger Longer Than One Year After Return To Play

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:05 am

Brain Injury From Concussion May Linger Longer Than One Year After Return To Play

How long does it take an athlete to recover from a concussion?

New research has found an athlete’s brain may still not be fully recovered one year after being allowed to return to play. The study is published in the October 16, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“There is growing evidence that recovery from a concussion may not be complete even when symptoms such as headache and dizziness are gone and the athlete is allowed to return to play, so it is important to determine if various aspects of the brain injury resolve over time or are perhaps permanent,” said study author Nathan W. Churchill, PhD, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “Our research looked at the brain one year after return to play in a group of college athletes and found that evidence of brain injury from concussion remained in some parts of the brain.”

The study involved 24 college athletes with concussion and 122 without concussion. Men and women were equally represented in both groups. Participants competed in the following sports: volleyball, hockey, soccer, football, rugby, basketball, lacrosse and water polo.

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of the athletes. For athletes with concussion, the first scan was performed an average of four days after injury. The second scan occurred when the athlete was cleared to return to play. The third scan was performed one year after return to play. Athletes who did not have concussion also had one brain scan at the start of their seasons. Brain scans of the concussed athletes were then compared to the brain scans of the healthy athletes.

Researchers found that the brain scans of concussed athletes still showed signs of brain injury when they were allowed to return to play, but in addition, they found evidence of brain injury an entire year after return to play.

When compared to healthy athletes, those who returned to play after concussion had significantly reduced blood flow in the brain one year later. Specifically, concussed athletes had an average decrease in blood flow of 10 milliliters per 100 grams of blood per minute compared to healthy athletes. When examining brain scans that map how water molecules move in the white matter of the brain, researchers also found the brains of concussed athletes still showed possible signs of tissue swelling one year after return to play.

However, it is important to note that researchers also found that measurements of brain connectivity had returned to normal one year after return to play. This included measurements of both the patterns of resting brain activity in the brain’s grey matter and measurements of the lines of communication in the brain’s white matter.

These long-term effects of concussion in the brain depended on the severity of an athlete’s symptoms and how long it took an athlete to return to play.

“The principal finding of this study was that different aspects of brain physiology have different patterns of long-term recovery,” said Dr. Churchill. “These findings significantly enhance our understanding of the natural course of brain recovery after a concussion. Future studies are needed to look beyond one year after return to play to see if these longer-term brain injuries eventually heal or remain permanent.”

A limitation of the study was that athletes with concussion had brain scans only after their injury and not before injury, although each athlete was carefully matched to a group of uninjured athletes, based on age, sex and previous history of concussion.

The study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research and Siemens Healthineers Canada, which makes the MRI equipment used in this study.

Learn more about concussion at, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Brain Injury From Concussion May Linger Longer Than One Year After Return To Play

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Mild Head Injury Can Impair Your Sense of Smell

Post by greybeard58 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:40 am

Mild Head Injury Can Impair Your Sense of Smell

Even a mild concussion can temporarily affect your sense of smell and trigger longer-term anxiety problems, a new study finds.

It's been known that such problems could occur after a major concussion. But this study found it's also true for minor concussions caused by accidents such as falling off a bike with a helmet on, having a traffic fender-bender, falling on the ski slopes, or slipping on ice and hitting your head.

"A lot of people will suffer a mild concussion at some point in their life, so realizing they have trouble smelling is the first step to telling their doctor about it," said lead author Fanny Lecuyer Giguere. She did the research as part of her doctoral thesis in neuropsychology at the University of Montreal.

The study included 20 people who suffered minor concussions and a "control group" of 22 people who broke limbs but had no concussion.

Within 24 hours of their injury, just over half of the patients with mild concussions had a reduced sense of smell, compared with 5% of the patients with broken bones, the Canadian researchers found.

A year later, the concussion patients' sense of smell had returned to normal (most within six months), but their rate of anxiety (65%) was considerably higher than in the control group, the findings showed.

Symptoms of anxiety included worry, difficulty relaxing and sudden feelings of panic.

The University of Montreal-led study was published online recently in the journal Brain Injury.

"It's important that patients report any loss of smell, because it's not something their general practitioner or emergency room physician normally asks about," Giguere said in a university news release.

This could result in closer follow-up to see if the loss of smell and anxiety persist, which could help determine the severity of the concussion, she explained.

Giguere also said that doctors should tell patients with minor concussions to report loss of smell or anxiety in the weeks following their injury.

"It's a question of raising awareness: The more people are told to watch for signs of olfactory loss [loss of smell] and anxiety, the easier it will be for doctors to respond," Giguere said.

Future studies should include larger numbers of patients to learn more about the association between anxiety and sense of smell, the researchers concluded.

Mild Head Injury Can Impair Your Sense of Smell ... e-of-smell

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My Year of Concussions

Post by greybeard58 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:00 pm

Personal History
November 11, 2019 Issue
My Year of Concussions
The thud was thicker than I’d expected. It felt as if my head had been slammed in a car door.

By Nick Paumgarten 5:00 A.M.

The first concussion in the year of concussions was delivered by the right fist of a man whose name I either don’t know or can’t remember. You could say it was a mild concussion, and I always will, but many experts say that there’s no such thing. You have a concussion or you don’t. You can’t be mildly pregnant. But a brain injury is not a baby. We know what a baby is.

I didn’t lose consciousness, or even my footing. When it was over, I skated away, with a ludicrous grin but without every item of my equipment or all of my wits. I had a sudden headache and a sense already of an alteration in the fabric of the world beyond the confines of my skull. Teammates leered at me. Aluminum rink light glinted off a thicket of surfaces: ice, plexiglass, helmets, sticks. The referee bent to report the infractions to the timekeeper, through a slot in the glass. In the penalty box, I fought the urge to lie down.

This was men’s league—beer league. You play hockey, then you drink beer. Beer in the locker room, beer in the parking lot, beer at the bar. Specifically, this was Game One of the league final, best of three, early July, 2016, after a sixteen-game season and a couple of playoff rounds. We all cared more than we should have. We ranged in age from just-out-of-college to my-kid’s-applying-to-college, with varying degrees of organized-hockey experience. I was one of the oldest, and one of the least experienced—I’d quit in freshman year of high school—but I’d never stopped skating in pickup games. I’d been a beer leaguer for twenty-five years and could still contribute here and there, and even, with crafty editing, create a mind’s-eye reel of my highlights to play as I drifted off to sleep.

Our team was called the Intangibles, for the sports cliché describing that unquantifiable quality of grit and attention to detail which valuable players, especially older ones, are often said to have, and which we reckoned was all we had left, amid a general decline in fitness and skill. On our jerseys, black, with a little orange and white, the word “Intangibles” ran diagonally from top left to bottom right. On the back: numbers, but no names. Most of us wore matching socks, black with orange trim. The rest of the gear—helmets, gloves, pants—was ragtag. A motley militia, in the reeking regalia of past schools and teams. The games were at night, sometimes as late as midnight. We got a little nervous on game day. We perfected the timing of the nap and the meal. We stretched at home. We knew we were ridiculous, and made fun of ourselves constantly, but approached it all with enough sincerity to wring real gratification out of it. A good beer-league team consists of players who take it no more or less seriously than you do. Ours was a good team. Afterward, we could talk about a game for hours—about our own failings, in front of the others, and about the others’ failings, behind their backs.

What led to the first concussion? I’d decided to repay an opponent who had, during a battle for a loose puck, shoved me into the boards head first. I’d been having neck issues, and this had made them instantly worse. Ours was a no-checking league, and yet we were allowed to play the body, as they say, and hostilities bubbled up from time to time. Now the game was basically over, and we were losing by several goals with a minute left. F****** it. As the guy stole the puck from our captain and bore in uncontested on our goalie, I came off the bench on a line change (a player substitution, often mid-play) and skated toward him as hard as I could. I came at him from his blind side, and arrived just as he slowed up a touch to execute a feint on our goaltender. My check blew him off his skates.

This was an uncool thing to do. Even in the pros, it would have been at least a charging penalty; in a middling no-hit beer league, it was beyond the pale. Also, the guy was much bigger, stronger, and younger than I was. He rose to his feet and rushed at me. I stood still, hands at my sides, in wonderment at the size of him, and at the purity of the grievance. I had an inkling that I deserved what was coming. His head was the size of a bucket. He shook his gloves off and quickly landed a series of right hooks before my teammates swarmed him, like rodeo clowns. The punches caught me behind the left ear, below the edge of my helmet. The thud was thicker than I’d expected. It felt as if my head had been slammed in a car door.

I had never punched, or been punched by, an adult before. The last time I’d used my fists was on my younger brother, during a tussle in our early teens; he retaliated by pelting me with a boom box. It got me in the mouth. I should have learned then: put up your dukes. The next morning, a dentist levered my teeth back into place with a tongue depressor and cemented them in line. I showed up for freshman year of high school with a mangled upper lip and a smile made of grout.

After the Game One punch-up, I sat out the rest of the series. I didn’t feel right. We won without me. The rink manager handed the guys a yard-tall plastic trophy, which wound up on the bar of the tavern where we hung out after the games. I was a longtime fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, who in their heyday and my formative years were known as the Broad Street Bullies, for their use of physical intimidation as a tactic. So I allowed myself to believe, half seriously, that I’d contributed something. The boys encouraged me in this. I’d sacrificed my services, and my head, to change the complexion of the series. One intangible is knowing when to be a jack-----.

I skate low, torso over toes, head turtled forward. It’s not awful, but it’s not ideal, either. I catch a lot of stray elbows. It’s hard to count the times, after those late-night games, that I’ve felt dazed the next day. Headaches, stiff neck, trouble finding words. But then there were always other variables: beer, dehydration, a severe shortage of sleep. Stay out or go home, six pints or two, I always needed four hours, from the time of the opening face-off, before I could fall asleep. Midnight games on Mondays left a mark.

After a day or two, the fog would lift. Nothing ever stuck, and so I decided that those passing head shots, the little dings, weren’t anything at all. It seemed a small price to pay for the weekly company of the boys. There was the Brad, a master rigger of industrial cranes, whose gruff diatribes against bankers, bike lanes, hipsters, and “harelips” we surreptitiously recorded, for laughs. Pat (Patty) Patterson had grown up down the block from me; in the late seventies, our local street-hockey game had made the Daily News. We had a couple of smooth Minnesotans—Scoobs, a soulful bull of a kid who ran a charter school in Harlem, and Mahonze, our ringer from Duluth, lanky and shy. And some spicy Mainers, too: Brawny, who was always grumbling about the libs; Bix, who smelled like a dead animal; and Junta, whom I met playing roller hockey in Tompkins Square Park, in the mid-nineties, and who had a thing about the size of his own wrench, which, admittedly, was prodigious. New recruits were always amazed to learn that Phish had named its first album for him. He came up with a lot of the nicknames, some of which only he used. Our goalie, whom we called Z, had eight children and lived in a shoe. Or so it was said.

Hockey nicknames are determined by an esoteric set of principles, the most basic one being that you add a long “e” to a name that does not have one, and drop it if it does. Clarke was Clarkie, Gretzky was Gretz. The Intangibles called me Dickie, for Dickie Dunn, the beat writer in the movie “Slap Shot.” For us, as for a generation of hockey players, “Slap Shot” was both a mirror and a prompt, in the way that “The Godfather” was for the Mob. There’s a scene in a bar in which Dickie tells Reg Dunlop, the player-coach played by Paul Newman, “I tried to capture the spirit of the thing.” We were all about the spirit of the thing. We took turns doing the post-game writeups: mock heroics, gong shows, choice chirps. Our team’s captain, for a while, was a handyman for a bunch of wealthy tenants of Upper East Side town houses; reared in Detroit, he’d played college hockey at Liberty University, during a born-again-Christian phase, and then, as a pot-smoking apostate, had been Woody Allen’s superintendent. He made paintings and signed them “Evryman.” We called him Reg. One year, after we won a league championship, I e-mailed my brother a team photo. The trophy, the flushed faces, the thinning hair. My brother singled out a Philly kid we called Murph—for Audie Murphy, because his surname contained the letters “a-u-d” (and no long “e”)—or Jesus, because he performed miracles. “That guy looks like a tough ____,” my brother wrote. I shared this e-mail with a few of my teammates. From then on, Reg implored us from the bench to play with an edge: “Tough ____, boys. Tough ____.” Hockey, it needs to be said, brings out the ________ in us all. It may even require it.

In New York City, in the nineteen-seventies, when I was a kid, recreational ice hockey was a curiosity, an obscure pastime of hard-nosed Long Islanders, M-------s, preppies, and H---- Kitchen roughnecks. There was a men’s league at the old Sky Rink, on the sixteenth floor of an office building near the West Side rail yards; one misremembers it now, with its steamed-up windows and its hothouse violence, as a kind of puckhead’s Plato’s Retreat. There were rugged barns at Coney Island, Long Beach, and the World’s Fair site in Queens. During the winter months, I skated in Central Park and the Bronx, getting just a handful of weekend games in the suburbs each season. In summer, I went to hockey camps for a couple of weeks, in New England and Nassau County. But mostly I played roller hockey—pre-Rollerblades, on the old quads. The city had a lot more open asphalt than open ice. We used garbage cans for goals, a roll of electrical tape for a puck, and wooden sticks with the blades worn down by the pavement to the width of paint stirrers. The pace was slow, and nobody wore shin pads or helmets. Still, the games got chippy. My sharpest memory is of a full baseball swing I took to the back of a knee from the stick of a neighborhood bully known as Fat Allie.

Thirty years later, I was out mucking it up on the ice two or three nights a week—at Chelsea Piers, mainly, but also in Long Island City, Flushing, and Central Park, in leagues and in regular pickup games. It was my outlet, my social life, my private map of New York. One team blended into the next: Flin Flon, Team X, Red Army, Blind Justice, Lady Blue, Wheat Kings, Rink Rats, Polar Bears, Blackjacks, Hit Factory, Triple Canopy, LCHC (Lamb Chop Hockey Club), and THC, which, of course, stood for the Hockey Club.

Meanwhile, my sons got deep into organized travel hockey, the weekends a blur of games and practices. For a number of years, I helped out as a coach. To do so, I had to take a series of seminars and online modules, including a perennial refresher devoted to concussions, with strategies for getting children to provide an accurate accounting of their symptoms. But, when it came to self-diagnosis, those were superfluous.

I got the next concussion that fall, in a game in Central Park, at the outdoor rink where I’d learned to play, four decades earlier. This was a league for players older than forty. The team was called Tiger Williams, for a notorious goon. On a chilly night under the lights by the Harlem Meer, with friends on both teams, the mandate was to play it cool. Skating backward, defending, without much conviction, against an onrushing forward, I leaned to execute an over-fortyish poke check. The forward, maybe with too much conviction, cut hard and caught the side of my head with a shoulder. The contact helicoptered me into the air and then down to the ice. I stayed prone awhile, then made my way to the locker room, where I undressed and zombied my way home. Headache, vertigo, unrelenting fatigue: the symptoms reminded me of altitude sickness. I acclimated after a moment or two. I took six weeks off, and then resumed skating after Christmas.

The third concussion came months later, in another Intangibles game, the clock running out on a late-night midseason loss. A freak accident, a collision with a teammate: we hadn’t seen each other. I got the worst of it. The light dimmed, the ringing kicked up, and the fog rolled in again.

In the following weeks, my skull felt as though someone had draped a towel over it and was pulling down on all four corners, or maybe cinching tight a bank robber’s stocking. I had trouble concentrating. If I tried to exercise, the headache came galloping in. I couldn’t handle crowds or concerts or the ordinary din of New York. The thought of playing hockey, the sight of men playing football on TV: it seemed as reasonable to stroll on foot across the New Jersey Turnpike. After an hour or two in front of a computer screen, a kind of dizzy fatigue washed over me. I began napping a couple of times a day. The Advil stopped working. My moods darkened. My work stalled.

At the urging of family and friends, I went to see a doctor, who said that the symptoms were consistent with post-concussion syndrome. Still, a diagnosis is an approximation. An M.R.I. showed nothing, except some other things, which had nothing to do with concussions or my symptoms, and which I’d probably have preferred not to know about: White matter intensity is generally preserved, however a solitary probable chronic lacunar infarction is present in the right caudate head, and trace probable microangiopathy is present in the parietal region on the left. A neurologist told a friend, to whom I had sent the report, “He shouldn’t freak out (too much).”

I was familiar with the murk of concussion science. Like anyone who follows sports, I’d been reading for years about professional athletes undone by head injuries, marooned in the dark, mulling suicide. One knew about C.T.E., the disease of progressive neurodegeneration, brought on by repeated blows to the head, that seemed disproportionately to afflict boxers and football and hockey players, such as the linebacker Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest, at the age of forty-three, or Todd Ewen, the N.H.L. enforcer known as the Animal, who shot himself in the head, at forty-nine. One of my son’s coaches, a retired N.H.L. player and a gentle giant who participated in more than a hundred fights as a pro, had several episodes a year of overpowering vertigo that lasted for days. Of course, I hadn’t done any of this. I hadn’t even played high-school hockey. I was just a mildly rambunctious boy on planet Earth: bicycle crashes, skiing accidents, pitiless shore breaks, a drunken tussle or two. But it was widely accepted that the damage accrues.

I bore witness as the kids opened their own accounts. In a peewee practice, one of my sons collided with a teammate, and the other boy had to quit hockey and miss months of school. I attended a concussion-awareness fund-raiser at his parents’ apartment, featuring a former professional football player and the former pro wrestler Chris Nowinski, who suffered sixteen concussions and now runs a research-and-advocacy group called the Concussion Legacy Foundation. This is an epidemic, they told us. There’s so much we don’t know. When in doubt, keep them out. The youth-hockey organization my sons played in adopted something called the King-Devick test. At the beginning of the season, we took the kids aside, one at a time, and had them perform cognitive exercises while an adult timed them with a stopwatch. Patterns of numbers on flip cards, read aloud, in sequence. This established a baseline. The idea was that, if a player was suspected of having a concussion, we’d administer the test on the bench and compare it with the previous result, and thereby have some basis for a decision about his continued participation in the game.

One day, during a game on Long Island, a boy on our squirt team (squirts are nine- and ten-year-olds) got clocked in front of our bench. The referee saw it but gave no indication that he considered it a penalty. Home cooking? The visitors always think so. Our player lay on the ice. From the stands, his father started shouting at the referee, who skated over and told him to knock it off. The father yelled, “That’s my son!” Then he let loose with some obscenities. The referee ordered him to leave the rink. The father went quietly, which was a relief, because he had a black belt in judo. Another father went with him, to make sure.

On the bench, I took the boy aside to administer the King-Devick test. He had put up a conspicuously slow time on his baseline. He was immensely talented but easily distracted: sometimes, when a coach explained a drill to him, his vacant expression brought to mind the badger sidekick in the movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox”—eyes just spirals. Now the boy sat on the bench, facing away from the ice, and read out the number patterns. He got through them much faster than he had for his baseline. This scenario hadn’t come up in the pre-season tutorials. We sent him back on the ice, which was almost certainly the wrong thing to do. The game ended in a tie.

During a bantam game (bantams are thirteen and fourteen), at a rink on the top floor of a mall in West Nyack, one of our players got rifled into the boards. His head bounced off the plexiglass. He stayed down. The referees blew the play dead and stood nearby, dawdling like a pair of plainclothes detectives at a crime scene. The players retreated and took a knee. In street shoes, I made my way across the ice. This boy’s father had played in the N.H.L. and was in the Hall of Fame. Hundreds of goals, thousands of penalty minutes, dozens of fights. A legend. But he wasn’t there that day. His son was lying face down, as though on a massage table. I asked the boy how he was doing.

“I’m done,” he said.

“Do you know where we are?”

“Some sh---- mall.”

Lucid. Droll. Good to go? We held him out, without subjecting him to the numbers.

Years before, I’d been in the stands at Madison Square Garden when his father, playing for the Rangers, collided with an opponent head on head, neither seeing the other. Paramedics spent more than five minutes trying to revive him, as the arena went quiet. “Is he dead, Daddy?” my older son, then six, asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. I could hardly speak, being somehow on the verge of tears. After a while, the crowd started chanting the man’s nickname. That’s what brought him back to consciousness, he later said. He was wheeled off on a stretcher. He missed fifteen games, then returned in time for the playoffs, and played for another two years. He stayed in the city and signed his son up for our program. He helped coach. You could see the opposing coaches and parents sneaking glances. On tournament trips, as kids raised hell in the corridors of the hotel, the hockey dads and moms gathered around him at the bar and pumped him for insights and anecdotes, a prince among the plebes. He liked to stay up late, too. An old habit, perhaps, from his playing days.

The symptoms lingered and mutated and became almost commonplace, and I began to contemplate retirement. That word, however facetiously it was deployed—because to consider the beer leagues a career, even in jest, was grandiose—had a finality that got marbled up with whatever depression the concussions had brought on. I missed skating, making plays, throwing my body around. I missed the boys. I missed the post-game high, endorphins giving way to beer and refrigerator raids.

A few months after my third concussion, a teammate, Mango, got one, too. We had chemistry on the ice, and liked talking and thinking the game, on our way to and from the rink. We were nerds for puck support and a methodical approach in the offensive zone. He was attacked in a melee at the final buzzer. Such things were much rarer than I have made them out to be, but here it was, violence that was not cartoonish. This time, there were no rodeo clowns. Maybe the Intangibles had lost sight of the intangibles. A lot of guys had moved away or stopped showing up. Injuries, work, babies, the burbs. Colorado, Chicago, Minneapolis. Ribs, disks, ankles, brains. Jesus had a heart attack. Scoobs’s house burned down. The spirit of the thing: catch it if you can.

Mango’s symptoms lasted for more than a year. Before long, he had to quit. So did Junta and Mahonze. The team disbanded. Now we were the invisibles, a chunk of our city life eliminated by blows to the head. My sticks stand blade down in a corner of the apartment; now and then, I catch a whiff of the old hockey-glove stink that still saturates the knob of cloth tape at the butt end of each one. I feel well enough to entertain the idea that there’s got to be a game for me somewhere out there in the city, one peppy enough to make it worthwhile yet so moderate as to be safe. Will I never again collide with another human being? The thought is hard to bear. When I can’t sleep, I have a habit of imagining myself, over and over, crossing the red line and, with a flick of the curved blade, flipping the puck high in the air, over the opposing defensemen and into the corner, but then, instead of chasing it, swerving toward the bench to get a line change. ♦

Published in the print edition of the November 11, 2019, issue, with the headline “The Symptoms.”

Nick Paumgarten has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2005 ... oncussions

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Banning hitting in youth hockey reduces injuries but not concussions, study finds

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:02 pm

Banning hitting in youth hockey reduces injuries but not concussions, study finds
by Michael Brown, University of Alberta

Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Eliminating bodychecking from non-elite bantam ice hockey leagues lowered injuries but didn't do away with concussions, according to a University of Alberta concussion expert.

U of A educational psychology researcher Martin Mrazik, who participated in a study led by the University of Calgary's sport injury prevention research team, said the research showed policy changes banning bodychecking in non-elite bantam hockey resulted in a 56 percent drop in injuries.

Part of that decline was a dip in the concussion incidence rate from 3.34 concussions per 1,000 hours of play in leagues that allowed body checking to 2.01 in leagues where the tactic was banned.

"We did see a decrease in concussions; however, the drop wasn't statistically significant," said Mrazik.

He explained that fluctuation falls within the ebbs and flows of the concussion incidence rate in any given year. In the NHL, for instance, the number of concussions per 100 players can range from 4.6 like it did in the 1998-99 season to 7.7 in 2000-01.

"You have this wiggle room, and that number wasn't outside of that wiggle room," Mrazik said.

Injuries, dropout rates down since bodychecking ban

Previous studies from this research group found peewee hockey players incurred three times more injuries in leagues where they were allowed to bodycheck. They led to a complete ban of bodychecking in peewee in 2013 by Hockey Canada. The same research also informed Hockey Edmonton's 2016 decision to join a growing list of Alberta hockey associations eliminating body contact in all but the highest levels of bantam and midget leagues.

To help determine whether the policy decisions are leading to less injuries, bantam non-elite ice hockey players were recruited from leagues that allowed bodychecking and others where it was not allowed. The researchers had data from 49 bodychecking teams and 33 non-bodychecking teams.

Teams in the study agreed to log all game-related injuries that resulted in medical attention or an inability to complete a game or practice. Any player suspected of having a concussion was referred to a study physician for diagnosis and management.

Though the concussion rates didn't drop as much as researchers had hoped, Mrazik noted that injury numbers did drop for the study years, as did dropout rates among kids playing bantam hockey, all of which he said can be at least partially attributed to the conversations taking place about concussions.

"There's only so much injury you can remove from the game," he said. "It wasn't that long ago that concussions weren't talked about. That's changed and that's a positive thing," he said.

"The main message about concussions—that when a player has a concussion, they need to be evaluated by a medical professional and shouldn't be returned to play unless they've been medically cleared—is working, so keep it up." ... sions.html

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Do athletic department personnel use LD/ADHD diagnoses to cover up effects of head trauma?

Post by greybeard58 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:19 am

Do athletic department personnel use LD/ADHD diagnoses to cover up effects of head trauma?

In light of the recent athletic admissions scandal, the on-going and growing concussion crisis, and new reporting from The Athletic, we call on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and all NCAA member institutions to release two decades of data on LD/ADHD rates within their athletic programs, properly anonymized. We call also on the NCAA and universities to ensure that these rates are reported publicly and audited by impartial authorities annually hereafter. Transparency and disclosure are essential to institutional integrity and protection of athletes’ mental and physical well being.

Recent reporting by the The Athletic has alleged dramatically elevated rates of learning disability (LD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among college athletes at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 2004 to 2012 — rates that far exceed those found in the general population.

The sources for these allegations are UNC documents in online archives released as a result of the athletic-academic cheating scandal during the period from 1993 to 2011. We do not use the word allegation lightly. In its interim policy and procedures for responding to allegations of research misconduct (adopted September 2019), Harvard University has defined allegation to mean “a disclosure of possible research misconduct through any means of communication.”

The Athletic’s reporting qualifies. The reporting was done by Armen Keteyian, investigative journalist and 11-time Emmy Award winner; documentary film-maker Andrew Muscato; Peabody award winner and veteran of CBS’ Barbara Walters show and 60 Minutes, Alan Goldberg; and award-winning investigative journalist Christian Red. It is also largely based on a peer-reviewed 2019 article by Ted Tatos and Don Comrie in the Journal of Scientific Practice and Integrity. The documentary and article are serious communications of potential scientific misconduct, failed disclosure, and striking discrepancies between peer-reviewed published research and unpublished graduate student research. Worse, the reporting leaves open the possibility that athletic department personnel sought to use LD/ADHD diagnoses to cover up the effects of recurrent head trauma among matriculating or continuing participants in high-revenue sports.

Academics ask NCAA to release data on LD/ADHD among athletes after a report on UNC rates
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An eagerness to “do something” has led people to adopt or promote some pretty dubious products

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:48 pm

An eagerness to “do something” has led people to adopt or promote some pretty dubious products

Football’s concussion problem has spawned a vast market of questionable solutions—unproven supplements, mouth guards claiming to protect against brain trauma, a collar marketed as “bubble wrap” for a player’s brain. If only preventing brain trauma were that easy.

Whether in an effort to save the sport and players’ brains or in a cynical ploy to profit off of the fear of parents and players, the market for concussion technologies is booming. An eagerness to “do something” has led people to adopt or promote some pretty dubious products, says Kathleen Bachynski, an assistant professor of public health at Muhlenberg College. In a paper published in July, she and her college James Smoliga documented the increasing availability of pseudoscientific concussion products.

The Federal Trade Commission has also been monitoring bogus claims. In 2012 it prohibited a company called Brain-Pad from claiming its mouth guard can reduce the risk of concussion. The FTC also warned 18 other companies about their products, including a dietary supplement endorsed by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and marketed by his business partner Alejandro Guerrero that promised to protect against concussions by providing a kind of “seatbelt” for the brain. The supplement was eventually discontinued. But new products continue to crop up, making claims that go beyond the evidence.

These techno-fixes face a difficult challenge: the laws of physics. When your head gets yanked around, your brain does too, and it’s nearly impossible to decouple the two. “You can’t put a seatbelt around the brain,” says Adnan Hirad, a graduate student at the University of Rochester who has done research on brain injuries in football players.

Concussions happen when the head abruptly accelerates or decelerates, pressing the brain toward the skull—think of how an astronaut gets pushed into her seat when a rocket takes off, or how a passenger gets thrown against the dash if the vehicle makes a sudden stop. With enough force, the brain can slam the inside of the skull, but what happens more commonly is the force of the movement stretches the nervous tissue, impairing the ability of neurons to fire properly, says Steven Broglio, director of the Michigan Concussion Center in Ann Arbor.

Rotation of the head seems to cause more brain stretching and deformation than just straight back-and-forth motions, says Mehmet Kurt, a mechanical engineer at Stevens Institute of Technology. “It’s feasible to think that the more deformation in the brain, the more likely it is to produce a concussion.”

Because there’s no good way to see what’s happening in the brain when someone gets dinged on the head, researchers are left to examine the aftermath. “What’s puzzling about concussions is that the symptoms can vary a lot,” Kurt says. “Most of the time when a player has a concussion, standard medical imaging techniques do not show damage,” he says, and that makes it impossible to diagnose with any one test. Instead, a doctor conducts a clinical exam to assess the patient’s symptoms and makes a judgement call.

And the worry about head injuries isn’t just about concussions, but about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss, cognitive problems, and mood disorders, among other things. “It’s close to settled science that CTE is caused by repetitive head blows and not by single concussions,” Hirad says. The current thinking is even sub-concussive hits can contribute, which means preventing concussions alone won’t eliminate the risk.

Earlier this year, Hirad’s research group reported a stark finding. After a single season of play, collegiate football players ended up with less midbrain white matter than they’d started with. Using accelerometers mounted to the players’ helmets, the scientists observed that the degree of white matter loss correlated with how much rotational acceleration the players’ brains had experienced. The study reinforces the idea that rotational forces are especially risky, Hirad says.

The finding also underscores the limits of current helmet technology. Football helmets were originally created to reduce skull fractures, and they do a pretty good job at that, says Hirad. But the brute forces that cause a skull fracture are different from the rotational ones that seem to lead to concussions. “Helmets do little to nothing to prevent those sorts of forces,” Hirad says.

A 2013 report released by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council backs up that claim. It concluded there was “little evidence that current sports helmet designs reduce the risk of concussions,” and that seems unlikely to change. Protective cushioning can help dissipate some of the force, but it can’t eliminate the forces of the impact, Broglio says. “Helmets will be part of the solution, but they will not be the solution.”

Even when technologies sound promising they often fail to live up to the hype. A device called the Q-Collar applies pressure to the jugular vein with the idea that this will slow blood flow out of the head and increase the blood pressure in head. It’s like “bubble wrap” for your brain, according to the manufacturer. A high school in Moose Jaw, Canada just mandated that its football players wear the collar.

The product is based on the notion that woodpeckers are able to bang their heads without injury because they have a tongue that wraps around the jugular to increase blood volume in the skull, providing extra cushioning. The collar’s inventor, David Smith, has published research suggesting that concussions are less common at altitude because blood volume in the brain is higher, adding to the idea that more blood in the head means more protection for the brain.

But Smoliga, a physiologist and biomechanist at High Point University, has looked into the claims and found them to be nonsense. Woodpeckers have multiple adaptations for protecting their brains from injury, but occluding their jugular veins is not one of them. Smoliga tried, and failed, to replicate the study of concussions and altitude for more recent football seasons. But using the same methodology he showed that concussion risk was about 30 percent lower in teams with animal mascots versus non-animal mascots. “If you look hard enough for an effect, you’ll find it,” Smoliga says, noting that the original study considered high altitude to begin at 600 feet, a trivial elevation.

Gregory Myer, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, has researched the Q-Collar as well. He acknowledges that “we’re still in the early stages of discovery, but I’m excited for the potential paradigm shift of protecting the brain from the inside.” When asked whether he had qualms about marketing an unproven product to kids, he asked, “How many helmets are studied like this before they’re allowed to be worn in play?” (Although his institution gets money from Q-Collar’s maker to fund his research on the device, Myer says he has “no skin in the game.”)

The only surefire way to eliminate concussions from football is to stop bashing players’ heads, and the sport has made some changes to that end. The NFL and USA Football have promoted a program targeted at youth called Heads Up Football, which teaches players to practice tackling by leading with their shoulders and keeping their heads upright. It sounds like a start, but Bachynski says it won’t do much to prevent concussions, because it’s accelerations and decelerations that cause injury, no direct hit required. Critics, like former Denver Broncos player Nate Jackson, have called the Heads Up program a marketing ploy.

The NFL has also banned helmet-to-helmet hits, but Hirad says such hits are only one source of concussions, and not the most common ones. Players can just as easily get a concussion from hitting their heads on another player’s body or on the ground. Will the sport ban those kinds of contacts too? “How many things can you remove from football before you don’t have football?” Hirad says. “I don’t know the answer to that.”

Football's Concussion Crisis Is Awash With Pseudoscience
Products that offer a "seatbelt" or "bubble wrap" for the brain claim to reduce head trauma. If only the laws of physics worked that way.
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The hazy, frightening world of a sports concussion

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:13 pm

The hazy, frightening world of a sports concussion
By Matt Patterson - October 15, 2019 631

One major risk of playing contact sports is concussion, a term denoting at least a mild traumatic brain injury that is receiving more attention in medical and athletic communities than ever before. (Angela Anne Jones)

As Trent Ratterree wandered the University of Oklahoma campus in search of lunch, his belly growled but his mind felt scrambled thanks to a concussion he suffered over a series of pre-season practices days before.

By this time, the tight end from Weatherford had been in Norman for nearly five years. He knew every nook and cranny in his football orbit. The weight room. The indoor practice facility. Where the food was served. But not on this day. Everything was a hazy mess.

Ratterree eventually encountered a football coach who wanted to know what he was doing.

“I said I was heading to lunch, and I asked him where lunch was,” Ratterree recalls eight years later. “He told me I was two hours late and that I had missed it.”

That year, Ratterree joined an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million high school, college and professional athletes who sustain sports-related concussions each year, according to the University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine department. Of that total, about 300,000 play football.

Put simply, a concussion represents at least a mild traumatic brain injury, according Dr. Jaclyn Duvall, a neurologist in Tulsa who specializes in headache treatment.

“All that a concussion means is that there has been alteration in brain function from an external mechanical force,” Duvall said. “If someone has lost consciousness more than 30 minutes, that automatically puts them into the moderate category (of traumatic brain injury).”

The length of an individual’s alteration in consciousness is one differentiator between mild, moderate and severe traumatic brain injury, Duvall said. After a concussion, individuals may experience symptoms such as headache, confusion, nausea, sleep disturbance and light or sound sensitivity.

“I have some 16 and 17-year-olds who have sustained concussions, and they are pretty impaired from a headache standpoint that is limiting their school participation,” Duvall said. “It’s limiting their ability to function and sleep. They have emotional disturbance.”

Beyond short-term problems, sports-related head injuries can be debilitating in the long-term and potentially devastating at any time. In Oklahoma, a 16-year-old Southwest Covenant football player died after sustaining a head injury during a game in September, and a Lexington middle school player died during a game less than two weeks later.

Speaking generally, Duvall described an immediate and potentially deadly risk for athletes who have sustained a concussion: second-impact syndrome.

“The brain hasn’t had time to heal, so it’s in this hyper-stimulated state where (…) it’s basically just hyper-sensitive to any stress or second injury that might occur,” Duvall said. “That’s the initial thing that we think of where someone had a mild head injury, they went back out next week and they had another injury — whether it be mild or severe — and they ended up dying. That’s because of the delayed cerebral edema that can occur in that sensitive state.”

Ratterree’s symptoms were full spectrum. He had the headaches, the lack of concentration and the mood swings. One minute he was laughing hysterically, the next he was crying.

“Concussions can be frightening,” he said. “In my case, I don’t remember anything. That was my experience in college with my worst concussion. Before that, there were plenty of times where my bell was rung.”

Ruptured football helmet led to trouble
Trent Ratterree
In an Aug. 7, 2018, post on Instagram, former OU tight end Trent Ratterree discusses a concussion he sustained playing college football. (Screenshot)
Ratterree doesn’t remember a specific blow to his head that caused his worst collegiate concussion. That’s probably because there wasn’t one. In his case, it happened slowly, blow after blow, thanks to a faulty helmet.

“Basically what happened was the air chambers in my helmet had ruptured, and I didn’t know,” he said.

The repeated impacts to his head during two-a-days yielded concussion. By then he had already overcome multiple injuries from the previous season, including a groin tear, just to get back on the field for the Sooners.

Even as he practiced, he wasn’t fully aware of what had happened to him. A teammate noticed something about Ratterree’s behavior wasn’t adding up.

“He asked me about a play, and I didn’t know the play, but I started explaining it and it turned out it was a completely different play,” Ratterree said. “We were running a sweep, and I was talking about a power. He took me to the team doctors, and within minutes they figured out something wasn’t right.”

One chilling effect from his concussion was an out-of-body experience.

“You’re feeling emotions that you know don’t make sense,” he said. “It’s an eerie feeling for your body to go through these emotions, and you feel detached from it. You feel a separation from your body and conscience. I could see my body crying and laughing, and I didn’t feel in control of it.”

Ratterree eventually cleared OU’s concussion protocol and made it back for a truncated senior season. He scored a touchdown against Kansas State and another in the Sooners’ bowl game.

“I was able to turn it around,” he said.

But well after his football days ended, some unwanted remnants remain. Ratterree’s mementos from college include a diploma and headaches.

“Some of those concussion symptoms persist for a really long time,” Ratterree said. “To some extent, I still have them. I’ve always had migraines, but after playing college football they have been much worse. I get that aura and tunnel vision with some of them. I can almost be blind.”

Four concussions marred high school hoops career

To say John Paul Rischard’s sophomore year at Mount Saint Mary’s High School in Oklahoma City was tumultuous would be an understatement.

Rischard sustained three concussions playing for the school’s basketball team. The first came after he tripped and fell on the back of another player’s leg.

“I was out of school for a week,” he said. “When I came back, I had headaches. It was not a good time.”

Rischard didn’t play again for six weeks. During his first practice back, he took part in a drill where players dive for a loose ball. Another player landed on him and his head slammed into the court.

“That’s the one I remember most,” Rischard said. “I didn’t black out like I did with the first one, but I was really dizzy. I ended up on the couch in the coach’s office. I threw up both times.”

The third concussion came near the end of the season during a fast-break drill when a teammate’s elbow hit Rischard’s head.

“I think all three times I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Rischard said.

Rischard’s fourth — and final — concussion came in October of his junior year when he once again took an elbow to the head.

“I missed the rest of the season,” he said. “I really didn’t know if I would want to play again.”

Rischard remembers shaking the first concussion off. He had seen his sister go through the same thing playing sports. The second and third knocked him off kilter for a while. His basketball career in ruins, his schoolwork suffered as well.

“I hated the headaches,” he said. “I was also falling behind in school. Having concussions and headaches and all of that makes it hard to concentrate on whatever it is you’re doing in school.”

Amazingly, Rischard decided to play his senior year. During practices, he didn’t take part in some drills with the hope that would reduce his risk of injury.

“I was fine all year,” he said. “I feel like I’m fortunate to not have any brain damage that I know of. I think I’m fine, and hopefully my friends and family would say the same.”

Hitting the old-fashioned way

State Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC) played football at Bartlesville High School so well that he earned a scholarship to Southern Methodist University. He capped his athletic career off as a member of the United States bobsled team.

Through it all, his head took a beating.

“There were times in high school where we would brag about how many gashes we had in the top of our helmet and how quickly we could destroy the top of a helmet,” Dollens said.

The abuse didn’t start there. Dollens began playing tackle football in seventh grade, later than many of his friends. But he remembers the relentless pounding of those early days, as high-impact practices were intended to make players tougher and less afraid of contact come game day.

“We would hit each other so hard,” he said. “I’ve never been concussed or knocked out, but I have knocked out teammates and opposing team players.”

CTE: Dollens’ bobsled teammate died with brain disease
Mickey Dollens
Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC) played football at Southern Methodist University and still returns to campus to support his alma mater. (Provided)
While football is the most violent sport Dollens played, it was his time training for the U.S. bobsled team that provided life-changing perspective when it comes to the damage head injuries can cause.

Like Dollens, bobsled teammate Zack Langston had a long history with football. He played in high school and at Division II Pittsburg State in Kansas.

“We had a lot in common,” Dollens said of Langston. “He had a good attitude and was a hard worker. He wanted to be the kind of person people depended on.”

While Dollens decided to give up bobsledding, Langston pressed on. Dollens still remembers the last time he saw his friend, selling him a Kevlar burn vest used to guard against ice abrasions.

“I was going to give it to him, but he insisted on paying for it,” Dollens said.

The two friends parted ways with Dollens telling Langston, “I know you’re going to make it.”

Six months later, in February 2014, Langston shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He left behind his longtime girlfriend and their 2-year-old son.

An autopsy revealed the 26-year-old’s brain had been affected by Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The condition, which can only be diagnosed after death, has made news in recent years.

Junior Seau, Frank Gifford, Mike Webster, Aaron Hernandez and Ken Stabler are just a handful of former NFL players diagnosed with CTE following their deaths.

Seau and Webster took their own lives. In Seau’s case, he shot himself in the chest, preserving his brain for research just as Langston did two years later.

CTE symptoms include depression, aggression, memory loss and irritability, among others. It’s caused by repeated brain trauma, including but not limited to concussions. The Concussion Legacy Foundation notes repetitive subconcussive blows as a major risk factor for CTE, which causes progressive degeneration of brain tissue.

“For that disease to get the best of him makes us all scared,” Dollens said of Langston. “It makes us all very cautious not to underestimate the impact of a brain disease like that.”

While Dollens can’t recall an instance where he suffered a concussion, he sometimes wonders if he is at risk for CTE.

“Whenever you’re feeling a little off,” Dollens said, “you have to wonder, ‘Is this early onset of CTE or is this just normal emotions?'”

When the fog clears
Today, Ratterree works for U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5). While he said football opened a lot of doors for him in life, he sometimes finds himself wondering if he is at risk for CTE. He also worries about his former Weatherford and OU teammates.

“To us, it’s always on our minds because we know first hand,” Ratterree said. “We’ve seen guys who have had other mental health issues like depression, and they seem fine until something happens. We check in on each other. We have a pretty strong community.”

Today, Rischard is a 21-year-old student at Creighton University in Nebraska. He still plays basketball, but only in pick up games.

“And even then I don’t play hard,” he said. “It’s just for fun.”

Rischard’s restrained effort on the court is a product of his four concussions, but despite the experience he has few long-term fears of brain injury or CTE.

“I’m not too worried about it,” he said. “In the back of my head, I know I can’t afford to get another concussion. I just try to be as careful as I can.”

These days, Ratterree doesn’t lament the end of his football career. He had a few training camp invites after college, but by that time he had already shed more than 40 pounds.

“Today, I can say I got plenty out of football,” he said. “I’m not sad that I didn’t play in the NFL, but it’s taken some time to get to that place.”

‘He’s always had head injuries’
Duvall, the neurologist who has recently opened a headache practice at Tulsa’s Utica Park Clinic, has treated former NFL players who “are in bad shape.”

“They can’t work because they can’t focus on a task long enough to complete work. Their migraines are so disabling they can’t go out in the sunlight,” Duvall said. “They are kind of excluded to the house trying to avoid any movement because it will make them sick and nauseous.”

Duvall referenced one particular player who sticks out in her mind.


Understanding the science of sports-related concussions by Dr. Ashiq Zaman

“He is in his mid-30s. And he kind of tells me, ‘Yeah, I’ve had head injuries my entire life.’ But he couldn’t pick out just one time that he was unconscious for 30 minutes to meet a moderate TBI. It’s just that he’s always had head injuries,” she said. “This guy is disabled. He has post-traumatic headache, which is migraine. And all of his symptoms cumulatively have made it really challenging for him to function. He is struggling in his marriage with his children because he suffers from this mood lability where he goes back and forth between feeling good and suddenly being irritable or crying at the drop of a hat.”

For his part, Ratterree does not have kids yet. But if he does have a son who wants to play football, he won’t stand in the way, even with what he’s been through.

“If I had a son or daughter that wanted to play, I wouldn’t discourage it,” Ratterree said. “I think they need to try it. But I would make sure they know what they’re getting themselves into.”

Dollens, who has a 1-year-old son, said he and his wife, Taylor, have already discussed the topic.

“We know that we are fine having our son, Dean, play flag football, but we’re still kind of on the fence about tackle football and what that looks like 10 years from now,” Dollens said. ... oncussion/

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Have you ever waited to get checked after hitting your head hard?

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:46 am

Have you ever waited to get checked after hitting your head hard?

• Girls who suffer a sports-related concussion get specialty care nearly a week later on average than their male peers, according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

• Girls, on average, recover more slowly than boys following concussion, likely due to delayed treatment, which can cause significant delays in recovery.

• When girls and boys get specialty concussion care within seven days of their injury, their recovery time is the same.

When girls get concussions, they often suffer more symptoms and prolonged recoveries compared to their male peers, something that the scientific community has blamed on weaker neck muscles and hormonal differences. But a new study suggests that while those factors can play a role, the real culprit may be that girls get significantly delayed concussion care.

The research, which was published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, examined the medical records of 192 kids, 75 girls and 117 boys, between the ages of 7 to 18 years, who had suffered a sports-related concussion.

The girls took longer than the boys to make a full recovery in multiple key areas: They returned to school later (four days versus three days). They took nearly twice as long to get back to exercising (13 days versus seven days). Their neurocognitive recovery, which includes motor, cognitive, language, and other psychological impairments, lagged far behind the boys (68 days versus 40 days). They had much later vision and balance recovery (77 days versus 34 days). And it took them two and a half times longer (119 days versus 45 days) to get back playing to their sport.

The girls also took nearly a week longer to seek specialized care, which the researchers believe is root cause of all the other delays in their recovery.

The boys in the study sought specialty concussion care in an average of nine days. The girls, on the other hand, took an average of 15 days to see a concussion specialist. That’s a problem, because sports concussion research shows that delaying specialized care by more than a week has been associated with prolonged recovery times.

In fact, when the researchers filtered the data and focused only on the boys and girls who had sought specialty concussion care within the first seven days of injury, the differences between the males and females on all the outcomes disappeared.

“There is speculation in the scientific community that the reasons adolescent female athletes might suffer more symptoms and prolonged recoveries than their male counterparts include weaker neck musculature and hormonal differences,” says senior author Christina Master, M.D., a pediatric and adolescent primary care sports medicine specialist and senior fellow at CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention said in a press release.

“We now see that delayed presentation to specialty care for concussion is associated with prolonged recovery, and that is something we can potentially address,” Master said in the release.

As programs like NICA GRiT (girls riding together), Little Bellas, and others are getting more girls on bikes, more girls are going to tumble from their bikes. And though the rate of concussion is relatively low, a recent survey shows that it’s still the third most common injury in amateur mountain bikers and females sustain three times as many concussions as their male peers.

If someone takes a hard hit to the head, go get them checked for a concussion, athletic trainer Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, Ph.D., a writer on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Position Statement on the Management of Sport-Related Concussion told Bicycling.

Though every concussion is different, there are some red flags to watch out for. These include: headache, loss of consciousness, amnesia, fogginess, nausea, rapid and/or severe mood swings, unsteadiness, slowed reaction times, irritability, and drowsiness.

Should you suspect a concussion, McLeod recommends being evaluated by a healthcare provider who specializes in concussion treatment. “Go to a concussion specialty clinic. If you don’t know where one is, you can Google ‘concussion specialist near me,’” she says. They’ll know the symptoms to look for and be able to provide the proper protocol for the fastest and safest recovery, no matter your gender.

Study Shows That Girls Seek Concussion Care Later, Then Suffer Longer Than Boys
New Research Suggests That Prompt Specialty Concussion Care Is Key To A Speedy Recovery, Regardless of Gender
Read more at: ... ery-study/

Read the study Factors Affecting Recovery Trajectories in Pediatric Female Concussion at: ... e=Abstract

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Psych News Alert: Concussions May Raise Risk of Suicide in High School Students

Post by greybeard58 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:32 pm

Concussions May Raise Risk of Suicide in High School Students

Having a concussion within the past year may raise the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior in high school students, according to a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Dale S. Mantey, M.P.A., of the University of Texas School of Public Health and colleagues used data from more than 13,000 respondents in grades 9 through 12 who participated in the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS). The national YRBSS is conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor health behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States.

For this study, researchers analyzed the respondents’ answers to the question “During the past 12 months, how many times did you have a concussion from playing a sport or being physically active?” They then compared those answers with answers to questions designed to determine whether over the past 12 months the students had depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, planned suicide attempts, attempted suicide, and/or were treated by a doctor or nurse for an injury, poisoning, or overdose following a suicide attempt.

Overall, 15% of the respondents reported a sports-related concussion in the previous 12 months. Compared with their peers who did not report concussions, these participants were 20% more likely to have experienced depressive symptoms, 25% more likely to have had suicidal ideation, and 60% more likely to have attempted suicide. They were also more than twice as likely to have been treated by a doctor or nurse for a suicide attempt. The risk of a suicide attempt and a suicide attempt treated by a doctor or nurse were more pronounced in boys than girls: Boys with a history of concussion were twice as likely to have a suicide attempt and more than three times as likely to have been treated by a doctor or nurse for a suicide attempt than boys with no history of concussion.

“Though further research is needed to explore the relationship observed in this study, [the] findings suggest a critical need for expanded education, awareness, monitoring, and treatment of sports-related concussions,” the researchers wrote. “Suicide awareness, education, and prevention efforts should incorporate history of sports-related concussions (or other traumatic brain injuries) as risk factors for interventional programs. Furthermore, organized physical activities (e.g., sports) should ensure proper monitoring of suicidal risk factors (e.g., changes in mood) following the diagnosis of concussion in youth participants.”
Psych News Alert: Concussions May Raise Risk of Suicide in High School Students ... icide.html

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “New Analysis Suggests There Is No Such Thing as Harmless Head Contact in Football.”

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Seven concussions "each far worse than the one before"

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:36 pm

Seven concussions "each far worse than the one before"

Goalie Kyla J Lane

Concussions friggen suck.

Unfortunately, I've been the unlucky recipient of seven of them, each far worse than the one before.

There was a point where I didn't think I'd be able to play hockey anymore because of the post-concussion symptoms I was still getting and the risk of more blows to the head.

But, here I am today still playing this beautiful game (currently out after knee surgery, but I'll take that any day over a concussion). You know what has lessened all of my symptoms, though?


We don't always think about what our bodies do with the food we put into it, or, in this case, the food we don't put into it.

Almost two years ago I started eating low carb after learning about the incredible research on low carb diets and brain function.

At the start, I was "keto", but now I just focus on not putting an excess of carbs into my body. Do I eat a damn pizza or drink more than I should every once in a while? Of course. But if anything, it's a great reminder of how much not eating those things helps me.

Concussions gave me severe migraines, anxiety, moodiness, low energy, an inability to focus, feelings of hopelessness, diziness, and the list goes on.

Not putting carbs into my body, though, has significantly helped all of these: the only times I get migraines now are thanks to an increase in carbs, my anxiety is controllable, I can focus, I have energy. It's incredible!

I wish I'd known what a diet change could do for my physical and mental health when I was in the thick of my concussion issues, so I truly hope that someone who may need it reads this.

You don't have to commit to anything, but give it a chance. Try it for a week or two and see how your symptoms feel. Yeah, giving up bread and pasta ain't easy, but it's easier than living in a silent hell in your own body.

I wouldn't wish concussions and their symptoms on my worst enemies. It's scary, painful and incredibly lonely.

My brain (and body) is finally getting the TLC it deserves, and I hope yours does too.

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Re: concussions

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:06 pm

Nicole: Happy American Thanksgiving to you and all our readers. I hope by the time everyone is reading this that they’re well on their way to relaxing and having a few days off with friends and family.

Women’s college hockey takes a bit of a break from the norm as a number of teams play in tournaments. The tournaments are nice because they give us a chance to see teams who don’t regularly play each other face off. Most of my family is in Memphis, so I’m taking the opportunity to combine a family holiday and some hockey viewing to check out four ranked teams play each other as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Boston College and Harvard play in the Country Classic Weekend in Nashville. Connecticut, Yale, Minnesota Duluth and Quinnipiac play in the Nutmeg Classic and Clarkson, Minnesota State, Vermont and Penn State play in the Windjammer Classic.

Following this, we get one more full week of games before most teams pause for a month for college finals and the winter holidays.

There were some interesting results this past weekend. Princeton made a statement by beating Clarkson. Connecticut beat BC again, earning a season series win. The Eagles eked out a win in the second game against the Huskies of the weekend, but it was a stellar showing from UConn. Ohio State handled Colgate on Friday, but earned a tie on Saturday. Harvard had a rough week, taking their first two losses of the year to Boston University and New Hampshire.

Did any of these surprise you more than others?

Arlan: I’m pretty easy to surprise, but I try not to get too shocked. No surprise at all on the Ohio State and Colgate results, as those seem about what I’d expect knowing the history of the teams. The Buckeyes under Nadine Muzerall have had a sizable delta from their best results to their worst. As she gains experience as a head coach, I think that she would be better served to resist the temptation to react emotionally to the downswings, and instead, look at what she can change in order to mitigate them. Colgate has talent, but there are a lot of young players who have yet to learn how to produce in big moments on this stage.

The more recent UConn victory over BC was more impressive to me, because the Eagles were on home ice, had the services of Cayla Barnes, and had been forewarned that the Huskies were dangerous. Maybe it is just a matter of a name, as BC is still undefeated against teams not nicknamed “Huskies.”

In response to your question, Harvard’s lackluster week was the biggest surprise to me. I think we were taking a wait-and-see attitude regarding how much to make of the Crimson taking Princeton to the woodshed, given the absence of Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson in that game. BU may have been a slight favorite on home ice with Jesse Compher back, but I didn’t see a 6-2 win for the Terriers coming. The Crimson looked ill prepared in allowing BU to convert all four of its power-play chances. Historically, it has been the Harvard power play that has decided games, but its one power-play tally against BU was tempered by yielding a shorthander on the same penalty.

The Crimson’s struggles continued on home ice hosting UNH and losing, 3-1. They put 46 shots on net and only one found its way by Ava Boutilier. At the other end of the ice, Lindsay Reed wasn’t abused to the extent that she was by the Terriers, but it’s safe to say that Harvard isn’t going to enjoy a very successful campaign if more than 10 percent of the opponents’ shots continue to find the twine. The past week doesn’t have ECAC ramifications for the Crimson, but it doesn’t bode well for them to wind up on home ice come the league quarterfinals.

Nicole: It’s totally irrational, but over the past few years, I’ve been so frustrated by Boston College’s response – or lack thereof – to tough outcomes. I keep wanting and expecting them to gear up for big games or get those revenge wins off teams that have taken points from them and then they just … don’t. It’s clearly not the team MO and I need to let it go. You mentioned Ohio State’s emotional responses and it’s as though BC is the total opposite. I suppose there’s an argument for both, but again, I was disappointed by the fact that BC didn’t seem to learn anything from their loss to Connecticut a few weeks ago.

You said a few weeks ago that you were still giving Clarkson the benefit of the doubt as they were feeling things out and it was still early. I had mentally circled this weekend as a crucial one for them and getting a single point out of the games against Princeton and Quinnipiac can’t be what the Golden Knights were looking for. At the moment they are in fourth in the ECAC, but Clarkson also hasn’t had as many games against teams in the bottom of the standings as Harvard and Princeton have. They should pick up some points at the beginning of January, but I can’t help but think that come February we’ll be looking at the ties against Cornell and Quinnipiac as missed opportunities that have a big impact.

Has your opinion about the state of things in Potsdam changed at all now that a month has passed?

Arlan: I wouldn’t say that it has changed that much, but I guess that it is evolving. I do think that it is unfair to the Golden Knights if I ask the same questions of that squad as I do of a team like Minnesota.

While the Gophers have had to fill holes for graduated players and their top goaltender who has missed all but one period this season due to injury, with the exception of highly-regarded freshman defender Madeline Wethington, they have been able to do so with players that were on the roster and played heavy minutes last season.

For openers, Matt Desrosiers had to replace Kassidy Sauvé in his net. His choices among returning goalies were sophomore Marie-Pier Coulombe and junior Kia Castonguay, neither coming into the season with as many as 140 minutes played in the Clarkson goal in her career. Clarkson also added junior transfer Amanda Zeglen, who played less than the equivalent of 12 full games in her two years at Ohio State. That is a greater unknown than Brad Frost turning to Sydney Scobee, who came into the season with 46 career starts, including 16 last year for the Gophers. Coulombe has emerged as the starter and done great; her .941 save percentage trails only Cornell’s Lindsay Browning, Aerin Frankel of Northeastern, and Corinne Schroeder for Boston University.

Desrosiers also had to compensate for the graduation of Loren Gabel, the reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner, T.T. Cianfarano, Josiane Pozzebon, and several other veterans who knew how to get to the Frozen Four every season and won it a couple of times. Clarkson wasn’t the deepest team last season, so it was never going to be a matter of just promoting returning players into new roles.

He has also had to deal with some flux in trying to fill his line chart. Senior Rhyen McGill rejoined the team after being out all of last year due to injury, got hurt right out of the game, returned for about a month, but then missed this past weekend. Caitrin Lonergan was injured before she could even register a shot on goal this season. Now Ella Shelton, Clarkson’s most proven defender, is out with an injury and who knows when she will be back.

If Wisconsin had lost Daryl Watts, the other high-profile Boston College transfer, as quickly, would the Badgers still be sitting on 14 wins? Especially if they also lost Mekenzie Steffen at some point, and Mark Johnson had to look down his bench to find a new goaltending starter, I think that it would have taken all of his coaching savvy to keep Wisconsin on top.

Nicole: Wisconsin likely would have been fine on offense, but we’ve already seen this season that the defense can be shaky. Losing Steffen would be far more difficult for them to deal with than losing Watts. As for the goalie situation? Niki Cece started five games for the Badgers her rookie year when Ann-Renee Desbiens was injured. Cece was 4-1 with a sweep of Cornell and a win over UMD. That was obviously four years ago and she’s seen limited ice time since, but it sure seems as though Wisconsin wouldn’t be totally lost if something happened to Kristen Campbell. But I do understand your point.

I don’t want to pick on Desrosiers, because he’s certainly not the only coach in this situation, just the one we’re currently talking about, but it does bring up a good question about how much leeway can be given for a difficult situation that is of his own making? Should we give a coach a bit of a pass because of an unsure goalie situation when the goalies’ lack of playing time is something the coach has control over? In this particular instance, it’s not about an injury leaving them this way – these were the three goalies they knew they’d be going into the season with. You might argue that picking up Sauvé put a kink in the long-term goaltending plans, but without her, wouldn’t they have been in basically this year’s situation a year earlier?

Arlan: A Clarkson fan on the forum told me a while back that the plan was for Jenna Brenneman to be the successor to Shea Tiley, but she transferred to Penn State when Sauvé moved to Potsdam, so she’s not an option now. However, she only played a couple of games worth of minutes over her two seasons as a Golden Knight, and she is currently not playing for the Nittany Lions, so maybe Clarkson was always destined to be in this position. Clarkson always seems to have a starter who plays a ton and backups are afterthoughts, so at least as far as goaltending goes, I guess that is Desrosiers mode of operation. It seems to work for him.

Nicole: Overall, I think this becomes a discussion about depth. One of the reasons teams like Wisconsin and Minnesota have players with a ton of minutes that can step into these roles is that they regularly roll four lines and even their third and fourth line can play at a high level and be trusted on the ice. When those players have to step up into bigger roles due to injury, they’re prepared.

For all that Clarkson has grown and improved over the past few years, one thing they haven’t really built into their game plan is depth. I think there’s an argument that says that until this year, they haven’t had to. They won national titles running pretty much two lines and relying heavily on their top six players. Why fix what, for many years, did not appear to be broken?

It would not surprise me if, in response to this year, we may see a change in how Clarkson handles things in the coming years with recruiting and building their roster.

Arlan: You’re correct that at some point for Clarkson, it becomes a matter of who it has and what it can do, rather than to bemoan what might have been. It still has Elizabeth Giguère, who is as dangerous as anyone in the country, particularly with the game on the line, and Michaela Pejzlová to set her up. Gabrielle David has been an emerging star taking over Gabel’s role, although on Saturday she was replaced on the top line by Brooke McQuigge.

The objective for Clarkson has to be to survive until the new year, when hopefully, it gets some players back. Through its game versus Quinnipiac, it has succeeded in that, sitting No. 7 in the PairWise Rankings and in the hunt for an at-large berth in the tournament.

Speaking of the PairWise, a clear top four has emerged. Any surprise on the ordering of that foursome, where Minnesota and Wisconsin are lagging a bit behind Northeastern, a team that I must confess that I’ve underestimated, and Cornell?

Nicole: I do admit that I probably underestimated Cornell to start the season. I do think I’d like to see where they stand come winter break. They have a tough stretch against Ohio State, Princeton and Quinnipiac. I’m hoping to get time to watch their series with the Buckeyes because I think it’ll help give us some perspective on how the Big Red compare to the Badgers and Gophers. The math doesn’t lie, but as we saw with Northeastern’s loss to Maine on Sunday, one loss can change things pretty significantly. Things can still change quite a bit from week to week.

Northeastern went from leading the Pairwise to sitting fourth, a relatively large margin behind the top three of Cornell, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The margin between those three is incredibly small – .0031 separates first from third in RPI. That being said, I do still think the Huskies are a top four team.

With the upset wins by Maine and Connecticut, I’ve been thinking about which Hockey East team could cause some serious havoc. I’m aware that it’s still likely one of the Boston area schools that will take the conference title, but let’s have some fun dreaming of chaotic scenarios. Based on play so far and their roster makeup, if you had to pick someone other than BC, BU or Northeastern to make a run towards the NCAA’s, who do you think it could be?

Arlan: It’s funny; I wrote about underestimating Northeastern and within a couple of hours, the Huskies were upset by Maine. That also changed the PairWise math substantially from my comments at the time. Apparently, my admiration is pretty damning.

Before the season, I would have said that Providence was the Hockey East team on the brink of becoming a national tournament contender, but it looks like the Friars have taken a step back thus far in Matt Kelly’s second season. In addition to the Black Bears and UConn, whom you mentioned above, Vermont has had better results through the first couple of months, at least until its recent three-game skid.

Based on what we’ve seen in other leagues over the years, I’m more inclined to believe that a conference that looks to have many contenders really has few. All of these squads that call someplace other than Boston home in Hockey East are likely to steal points from each other that the PairWise won’t forgive. My guess is that Northeastern, who seems to do the best versus the other contenders, will make the national tournament along with either BC or BU, but likely not both.

In spite of starting ECAC play a little ragged, Princeton looks to be in good shape. If it can win more than it loses in December, the schedule softens considerably in 2020. One of the teams it plays next month is Ohio State, and the remainder of 2019 could go a long way to making or breaking the Buckeyes’ chances. I’ll predict that two of the trio of Princeton, Clarkson and Ohio State reaches the NCAAs.

That would give us a tournament field of Cornell, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northeastern as our current likely hosts, plus two of OSU, Princeton, and Clarkson, either BC or BU, and the CHA champ. If this season unfolds similar to last, we won’t have any clarity about that CHA entrant until March.

Wednesday Women: A first peek at PairWise and rethinking rosters
Read more: ... g-rosters/

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several HS concussions

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:09 pm

several HS concussions

Several high school concussions mentioned in this video: ... e=emb_logo

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Damage from concussion alters the way information is transmitted between the two halves of the brain, according to a new

Post by greybeard58 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:21 pm

Damage from concussion alters the way information is transmitted between the two halves of the brain, according to a new study

Research has shown that the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers that carries signals between the brain's left and right hemispheres, is vulnerable to damage from mild traumatic brain injury, commonly known as concussion. Less is known about the impact of this damage on cognitive function.

To learn more, researchers at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in New York City compared the condition of the corpus callosum in 36 patients with recent concussion to that of 27 healthy controls. They studied the participants' brains with two innovative advances, including an MRI technique that uses measures of water diffusion to provide a microscopic view of the brain's signal-carrying white matter.

"Looking at how water molecules are diffusing in the nerve fibers in the corpus callosum and within the microenvironment around the nerve fibers allows us to better understand the white matter microstructural injury that occurs," said study co-author Melanie Wegener, M.D., resident physician at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Dr. Wegener and colleagues combined the MRI findings with results from the study's second innovative advance, called an Interhemispheric Speed of Processing Task, a test developed at NYU Langone that evaluates how well the two hemispheres in the brain communicate with each other.

For the test, the participants were told to sit in a chair and focus their gaze on the letter X that was displayed on a screen directly in front of them. The researchers then flashed three-letter words to the right or the left of the X and asked the participants to say those words as quickly as possible. When the researchers evaluated this reaction time in both patients with concussion and healthy controls, they noticed an interesting phenomenon.

"There is a definite and reproducible delay in reaction time to the words presented to the left of the X compared with words presented to the right visual field," Dr. Wegener said. "This shows it takes time for information to cross the corpus callosum from one hemisphere to the other, which is measured by the difference in response time between words presented to different sides of our visual field."

This delay is likely due to the fact that language function is most often located in the brain's left hemisphere. This means that information presented to the left visual field is first transmitted to the right visual cortex in the brain and then has to cross over the corpus callosum to get to the left language center. In contrast, words that are presented to the right visual field do not need to cross the corpus callosum.

Performance on the test correlated with brain findings on MRI. In the healthy controls, reaction time corresponded with several diffusion measures in the splenium, an area of the corpus callosum located between the right visual cortex and the left language center. No such correlation was found in the concussion patients, suggesting microstructural changes relating to injury.

"We saw a correlation between white matter microstructure injury and the clinical status of the patient," Dr. Wegener said. "This information could ultimately help with treatment in patients who have mild traumatic brain injury."

For instance, Dr. Wegener said, patients could undergo MRI immediately after a concussion to see if they experienced any clinically important white matter injury and thus may benefit from early intervention.

"Another thing we can do is use MRI to look at patients' brains during treatment and monitor the microstructure to see if there is a treatment-related response," she said.

Concussion alters how information is transmitted within the brain
Read more: ... brain.html

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Post by greybeard58 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:02 pm


If you're a hockey player and have suffered concussions or any complications from concussions please reach out to me. I'd like to speak to you regarding a piece I'm working on. You can also email me at

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Mental Health Awareness Day on Saturday

Post by greybeard58 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:34 am

Mental Health Awareness Day on Saturday

This Saturday, Osseo Hockey "will be hosting a Mental Health Awareness Day in honor of our friends in the Warroad community and the Max Marvin Foundation. Game times are 1:00/3:00 vs St. Louis Park.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the University of Minnesota Psychiatry department will be set up in the lobby during the games to answer questions and provide resources related to mental wellness. The Max foundation will have apparel for sale along with Osseo Hockey “Live Your Best Life” bracelets; all proceeds going to mental health awareness. Together we can find this disease and end the stigma around mental health."

"Max was an energetic outgoing kid who left us way too soon. This foundation will help the memories of Max live on.”
Max Marvin Foundation

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"Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a pervasive and under-recognized public health problem"

Post by greybeard58 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:48 pm

"Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a pervasive and under-recognized public health problem"

More than half of homeless individuals diagnosed with traumatic brain injury
A new review of 26 studies finds that more than 50% of homeless or marginally housed individuals — those in slums or other low-income housing — were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury at some point in their life. Nearly 1 in 4 of these people had moderate to severe forms of TBI, an estimate that is tenfold higher than the estimates for the general population, according to the study. Those with TBI were also more likely to report being in poor health and to use health services frequently. Taken together with other negative health outcomes experienced by those living in poverty — including an increased risk for heart disease and mental illness — the homeless population is especially vulnerable, and health care providers ought to also check for a history of TBI, the authors suggest.

Traumatic brain injury in homeless and marginally housed individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Read the study at: ... 4/fulltext

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After concussions ended her soccer career, a former star is helping girls avoid a similar fate

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:14 am

After concussions ended her soccer career, a former star is helping girls avoid a similar fate
“I honestly had not grasped the seriousness of concussions up until that point,” Brittni Souder said of the three head injuries she suffered early in her junior season of college. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Roman Stubbs
August 20, 2019 at 6:30 a.m. CDT
It was a short drive she had made countless times, from her home in Maryland’s Frederick County to a secluded soccer field 30 minutes away, yet Brittni Souder still needed a GPS to guide her black Honda Pilot there early one morning in July. A 15-year-old female soccer player met her there, eager for another private lesson from the 27-year-old Souder in a sport that had already taken so much from both of them.

Souder grabbed a bag of soccer balls and adjusted her prescription sunglasses, the ones she rarely takes off even indoors, because after the six diagnosed concussions she suffered as a high school and college player, simple vision was a daily problem. Everything now seemed like a daily problem, including this 90-degree sun, which just a few years ago might have shut down her body completely.

But memory loss was the worst part of her life after playing, so she whipped out a white card and read aloud directions to her pupil on this July morning. The 15-year-old was working her way back from a concussion of her own, joining the girls’ soccer players across the country who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries at an alarming rate, nearly as rapidly as high school football players.

Driven to the end: Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin could do it all. Until it all became too much.

Souder herself suffered a traumatic brain injury while playing soccer — part of a growing and perplexing challenge that some of the sport’s leaders and medical officials view as a crisis — and had designed custom drills as part of her pupil’s rehabilitation. For nearly an hour their injuries had not come up, not until the end of the workout, after they practiced kicking the ball into the upper corners of the net. The girl asked Souder whether she could head the ball in.
“Why head it?” Souder replied. “What’s the point?”
Souder, 27, tutors girls' soccer players. One of the first conversations she has with her students is about head safety. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
‘Girls who play soccer really need to be aware’
About two weeks earlier, Souder sat in a sports bar near her home, watching the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup title-game victory over the Netherlands. She had once dreamed of playing on such a stage, but she remembered this game for the worst reasons.

She watched as U.S. player Becky Sauerbrunn went up for an aerial challenge and came down with blood dripping down her face. Souder excused herself from the table because she had grown nauseous. She needed to leave.
It wasn’t so unlike the jarring hits she had taken as a rising star at Walkersville High and later a starting centerback at Division III Hood College, where by 2015 her career had ended with six concussions, two neck surgeries and a life spinning out of control. She was among the approximately 300,000 adolescents who suffer concussions while participating in organized sports every year. In matched sports, girls are 12.1 percent more likely to suffer a concussion than boys, a 2017 study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found.
It also concluded that female soccer players are more likely to suffer a concussion than male football players — and are three times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury than male soccer players.

“What was very surprising was that girls’ soccer was just as impactful as boys’ football. We did not expect to see that,” said Wellington Hsu, an orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern who led the study. “Girls who play soccer really need to be aware of these issues. These symptoms and having a second concussion is sequentially worse from the first one.”

Concussions make up nearly 27 percent of injuries in girls’ soccer, according to Hsu’s study, yet there is no conclusive answer as to why. Some in the medical field have pointed to the fact that girls’ neck muscles are not as developed as those of boys, leading to the susceptibility of more head injuries. Others have blamed heading the ball — and collisions resulting from players attempting headers — as a culprit. In 2015, U.S. Soccer, which governs the sport across the country, introduced new guidelines for headers and banned the practice for youth participants 10 years old and younger.

“I’m not sure that’s solving anything, because I think once you get to the age of 12 … you could easily hurt yourself heading the ball at a high speed if you don’t know what the proper technique is,” Hsu said.

Worried about all the headers they took, former USWNT stars to participate in CTE study

This issue was back in the spotlight during the World Cup after former U.S. national team members Brandi Chastain and Michelle Akers announced they would participate in a Boston University study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is most often associated with football players who have taken constant blows to the head. No female athlete has been diagnosed with CTE, which can only be confirmed through autopsy. Akers and Chastain have publicly expressed concern about memory loss in the years since they retired from soccer.

Hsu said the number of concussions in women’s soccer continues to rise each year, partly a result of growing awareness.
“We have not seen a plateau,” he said. “We have not seen anything tail off as far as incidents with this problem.”
“I knew my life would never be the same,” Souder said after an injury. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
‘She was in denial about how bad it really was’

It’s difficult for Souder to pinpoint what caused so much damage to her brain. Beginning at age 8, she begged her mother to spend hours in the backyard throwing the ball in the air so she could redirect it with her head. She suffered one diagnosed concussion in high school but suspected three others because of collisions. During the first three months of her junior season in college, she suffered three diagnosed concussions, each from a different kind of violent play. She was cleared medically after each, but each precipitated the next.

“I honestly had not grasped the seriousness of concussions up until that point,” she said.
By the next season, after her first game back, Souder was in the emergency room and placed on a beta blocker to manage her heart rate, which was in the 30s. A couple of days later, at a concert with her family, she crumpled to the ground with migraines, clutching her head with both hands. She was carried out of the venue by her stepfather and cousin.

She didn’t know what was happening. She began to have an electrical, burning sensation in her jaw and temple. The right side of her face went numb. By that October, doctors diagnosed her with trigeminal neuralgia, which is also known as “suicide disease” because of the number of patients who took their own lives as a result of the pain.

Yet what might have made Souder the saddest was being away from the game she loved, and she met each suggestion to slow down or give up the sport with fierce stubbornness. Her mother knew Souder was paying her own way through college and felt she couldn’t tell her daughter what to do. Team doctors had cautioned her and helped her find neurologists and concussion specialists to work with, but Souder’s relentless desire to play always won out.

“It was very difficult for us to really just educate her on the dangers behind it and kind of have her sit down and really understand what she was putting her body through,” said Laura Richards, a former athletic trainer at Hood. “She did not want to give up the love of the game.”
“She was in denial about how bad it really was,” said Souder’s mother, Stacy Johnston. “She hid them really well.”

By the time she was a graduate senior, she had endured two surgeries on her occipital nerves — doctors believed a neck issue was causing Souder’s unbearable pain — and countless hospital visits, but she was still heading the ball, justifying her decision by only doing it in games.
On her team’s senior day, she was battling in a double-overtime thriller when in the final seconds her world went dark. Video would later show a defender being pushed into Souder, who fell back and hit her head on the turf. It was the last time she played soccer.

“I knew my life would never be the same,” she said.
“Brittni is our hero,” said a parent of one of Souder's students. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
‘Brittni is our hero’

There were many times in the six months after she graduated that Souder thought about ending it all. Soccer was gone, but the toll the concussions had taken remained. Souder had trauma-induced anorexia and had to force-feed herself because she couldn’t hold an appetite. She started sleeping all day, leaving the same TV shows on loop because she couldn’t look at the screen. She eventually quit her job at a golf course; the heat was shutting down her body and making her sick.

But workers at that golf course also helped Souder raise $16,000 to see a brain specialist in Georgia in 2016, followed by another visit the next year. She got a dog to help with her emotional needs and moved in with her parents, who joined in spreading awareness to other families of the concussion risks facing girls’ soccer players.

Most players would be bitter about the sport that has created so much pain, but after college, Souder began chasing a coaching career.

“Sometimes I am conflicted,” she said. “But I absolutely love the game, and I want to use what happened to me to help as much as I can.”
The game, Souder said, has saved her in the years since. She has made it her mission to share her story with as many players as possible, and her first conversation with each player is always about head safety. She sees herself in each of them and wonders whether she can relay to them what is at stake.
“She started to talk to me about how she … wanted good to come out of it,” said Alexis Andrukat-Price, a former college teammate. “To see her try and take this thing that would have made a lot of people quit … and literally craft her life’s work out of it is remarkable.”

Jennifer Grunwald, the mother of Allyssa Grunwald, the 15-year-old girl Souder tutored that July morning, said her trust in Souder made her comfortable with allowing her daughter back on the field. Allyssa, who suffered a concussion while on a roller coaster three years ago and aggravated it at soccer practice soon after, has dreams of earning a college soccer scholarship. She is Souder’s most delicate student and a chance to put to the test everything Souder learned through her own struggle.
“Brittni is our hero,” Jennifer said.
Most of Souder’s students don’t know what their teacher goes through on a daily basis. She often jokes with her fiance that he is about to marry an 80-year-old woman, because she forgets almost everything, including directions around her own neighborhood. Her life must be scripted on her iPhone calendar. Her Apple Watch reminds her to eat. The migraines still pop up frequently.
Souder and her mother rarely talk about the possibility of her having CTE, but both think about it often.
“It’s at the forefront of all of our minds, hers included, just because we see the signs,” Johnston said. “She doesn’t let it consume her life, even though I know we all have that fear.”

“Sometimes I am conflicted,” Souder said of coaching girls in soccer. “But I absolutely love the game, and I want to use what happened to me to help as much as I can.” (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post) ... ilar-fate/

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“I had no clue what happened”

Post by greybeard58 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:59 pm

“I had no clue what happened”

The Kodiak Juvenile girls hockey team placed first at the Pingree in Hamilton, Massachusetts on Sunday.

The team beat out five other clubs in a two-day event, including a 4-2 win over North Yarmouth Academy in the finals.

Kahnawake’s Breeze Lahache was among 15 girls, along with head coach Britt Privee who took home the title.

“We played all together as a team,” said Lahache. “We were setting up plays, passing the puck more than usual and having set plays that worked.”

The victory came with a price as three girls suffered tournament-ending injuries.

Katrina Julien and Isy Miron of the Kodiaks had broken collarbones. Lahache suffered a concussion when her head smacked against the ice after a crosscheck from behind.

“I was really upset when I got injured 20 minutes into the first game,” she said. “I had to watch from the stands for the rest of the weekend.”

“I kept in contact with her during the tournament,” said Jesse Lahache, Breeze’s father. “She was still having headaches and dizziness so I told her not to go play.”

Breeze was in a daze from what happened to her once she absorbed the hit.

“I had no clue what happened,” she said. “I had to leave the game immediately as I was dizzy and felt very sick. I had to get checked out by the trainers.”

She still is feeling the effects of the concussion several days after the tournament.

“The dizziness stopped but the constant headaches and tiredness are still there,” said Jesse. “She will be missing a lot of hockey the next two weeks with both teams (Kuper Kodiaks and AA Mont-Royal Outremont Elites).”

The injury did not stop Breeze from keeping herself involved with the team.

“I was the water girl and stick manager,” said Breeze. “The girls did hassle me but it was all jokes and fun.”

Despite the abridged ice time for Breeze, it came out a happy ending for her Kodiaks.

“It makes me feel great because after all the injuries my team has suffered throughout this tournament, they still managed to pull through and win it all,” she said. “The bus ride back was fun.”

“I’m proud of her and her team,” said Jesse. “Breeze can be a competitor when she needs to be and she does not like to lose.”

Kuper Academy opened with a 5-0 rout over Beverly High. Breeze scored a goal in the first period, moments before she was injured. Julien suffered her broken collarbone in the same game.

The Kodiaks defeated the host team Pingree in a close game, 3-2 to advance to the finals.

Miron had her injury in the final game against North Yarmouth Academy.

Breeze will miss her tournament with the AA Elites this weekend due to her concussion, according to her father. Last year, Breeze and the Kodiaks placed second in the same event.

Injury-Riddled Girls Earn Championship ... mpionship/

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Family hardship following youth concussion: Beyond the medical bills

Post by greybeard58 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:14 pm

Family hardship following youth concussion: Beyond the medical bills

• Families face monetary and non-monetary burdens following youth concussion.
• Healthcare costs do not fully capture the impact of concussion on families.
• Impacts of concussion include lost productivity, tutoring, and transportation.
• Healthcare providers must recognize non-monetary costs associated with concussion.

In addition to direct health care expenses (e.g. copays and deductibles), families of youth with concussion faced indirect costs associated with tutoring and transportation to medical appointments, in some cases over long distances. Financial cost-sharing for concussion care varied widely across participants.

Lost productivity included parents missing work to care for their child and for travel to appointments. Research that describes costs of care using claims or survey data lack the experiential perspective of the economic burden on families following concussion.

Practice implications
To fully understand the impact of concussion on patients and families, healthcare providers must consider non-monetary costs, such as opportunity costs, transportation required to obtain healthcare, or the productivity cost associated with missed work and school.

Family hardship following youth concussion: Beyond the medical bills
Read the study at: ... 6319302295

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Re: concussions

Post by MNHockeyFan » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:34 pm

Down early, North Wright County scores four unanswered goals to topple Grand Rapids/Greenway ... ow/1073683
Last edited by MNHockeyFan on Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: concussions

Post by rudy » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:55 pm

Where can I follow Edina vs maple grove tonight in real time?

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