Sidney Crosby is a reminder NHL has its own concussion problem


Sidney Crosby is the NHL’s biggest, highest paid, and most marketable star. (Photo: Charles LeClair/USA Today Sports)

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion and will miss an indefinite amount of time at the beginning of the 2016-17 NHL season.

Having the captain of the defending Stanley Champions and face of the league potentially miss significant time on ice is a reminder of the mostly underreported NHL concussion lawsuit.

The first of five proposed class action lawsuits were filed November 25, 2013 by over a two dozen former NHL player versus the NHL.

The former players allege the NHL failed to warn its players of the short and long term effects of multiple concussions and head trauma, failed to adequately care for player after sustaining injuries, and promoted the “reasonable and unnecessary” violence leading to concussions and head trauma.

Similar to the NFL’s concussion case, the NHL concussion case sites former NHL players suffering from a variety of conditions and risks associated with concussions and head trauma from playing in the the NHL, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkison’s, and accelerated speed and severity of players’ post-retirement mental abilities, and such conditions result for NHL action and inaction.

“He’s a hockey player,” is a common phrase celebrating hockey players’ unique ability to sustain hits on the ice, lose teeth, and keep on playing.

Unfortunately, being hockey player also is accompanied by the risk of head injury and cannot be ignored.

Sidney Crosby is no stranger to concussions.

Crosby was hit in the head Washington Capitals’ David Steckel January 1, 2011 in the NHL Winter Classic, a nationally televised outdoor game showcasing the leagues best teams and stars.

After being slammed into the board by Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman a week later, Crosby missed 11 months with a concussion.

Although fighting is wholly disconnected from the source of Crosby’s injuries, I’ve said plenty times before fighting in the NHL should be disallowed. It is barbaric and unreasonable part of hockey culture.

Once an inconceivable stance to take, fighting has become less en vogue for the NHL. Fighting has declined every season since 2008-09, and last season there were half as many fights in the NHL as that 2008-09 season.

Fighting aside, the sport also must revisit how it handles contact rules, medical protocols, equipment, and its impact on safety of junior leagues in North America.

Sidney Crosby is the NHL’s highest paid and most marketable player, commanding over $15 million in salary and endorsements from companies such as Gatorade , Rogers Communications , CCM, Tim Horton’s, Upper Deck, Verizon and Frameworth.

With the NHL becoming the first of the four major North American sports with modern-day Vegas franchise, the league needs it stars to anchor it in a soon to be watered down talent pool.

The NHL cannot afford dealing with the headache of concussions, but the league must not turn a blind eye to real life struggles its former players face.

Or current ones such its star Crosby.

Sid is not always going to be “The Kid.”

Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. is an award-winning attorney, on-air legal analyst, media personality, Fortune 500 speaker, content creator, writer, tastemaker, thought leader, and RYT studio certified yoga teacher. Mr. Pope is the host of #SuitUP Podcast for his production company 528 Media Group, and  host of the Radical Inspiration Podcast. Mr. Pope has over 200+ appearances on air, including international television on BBC and Al Jazeera English; national television on Fox News Channel, HLN, NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera America, WGN Morning News, Fox Business Channel, and Huff Post Live; Top 3 Local Media Markets on Fox, CBS, and NBC; international radio on BBC Radio; national radio on ESPN Radio, Clear Channel Radio, NBC Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio; written and contributed digitally to The Hollywood Reporter, CNBC, Huffington Post, Jet, and Black Enterprise; and has appeared in other media outlets nationally and internationally. Mr. Pope is represented by top media and literary agency RLR Associates.

© 2016, Exavier B. Pope I, Esq., 528 Media Group.

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