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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