The Sidney Crosby concussion saga has taken another turn and it’s getting hard to figure out just what is going on.
In the first period of Game 6, Crosby inadvertently tripped over Braden Holtby’s stick and fell headfirst into the boards. He was slow to get up before making his way back to the bench. It was a scary moment considering it came just one week after suffering a concussion in Game 3.
Crosby, however, did not come out of the game and finished the period. After the game, it was clear that not everyone within the Penguins organization was on the same page.
When asked if he was evaluated after the fall into the boards, Crosby said, “Yep. Yeah. Pretty standard.”
During the postgame press conference, head coach Mike Sullivan was asked if he was concerned when he saw that Crosby was slow to get up and if he was evaluated for a concussion during the first intermission.
Sullivan’s answer was, “No.”
If Sullivan is correct and Crosby was not evaluated, why not? Isn’t it at least worth checking over a player who has a history of concussions and suffered one just last week to make sure he’s ok? If Crosby was examined during the intermission, why did he continue playing out the first period? Either someone needs to be checked or they don’t, the whole point is to prevent someone from continuing to play in case they have suffered a concussion.
When Crosby initially suffered the hit, it was wondered why the NHL's independent concussion spotters did not immediately pull Crosby from the game. We now have an answer to that question, but it’s not a very satisfying one.
Concussion spotters did not have the authority to pull Crosby from the game because a head collision with the boards does not qualify as a “mechanism of injury” under the current guidelines that allows for a player’s removal, according to a report from USA Today.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly offered an explanation as to why.
“Depending on the mechanism of injury, ‘slow to get up’ does not trigger mandatory removal,” Daly said, via USA Today’s report. “The protocol has to be interpreted literally to mandate a removal. ‘Ice’ as compared to ‘boards’ is in there for a reason. It’s the result of a study on our actual experiences over a number of years. ‘Ice’ has been found to be a predictor of concussions -- ‘boards’ has not been.”
Daly also revealed that concussion spotters do not take a player’s concussion history into account when making their determinations.
So to recap:
— A NHL player with a history of concussions suffered a concussion in Game 3.
— He was cleared to play in Game 5 but in Game 6, just one week after his most recent concussion, he fell headfirst into the boards and was slow to get up.
— He was not pulled from the game because the NHL’s spotters don’t have that authority when a player’s head hits the boards.
— He also may or may not have been checked for a concussion during the intermission.
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