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Concussions and head shots, should we care?

January 20, 2011 2 comments

In 2005 I went to Florida on vacation for the first time. Having been out of university for less than a year this normally wouldn’t have been something I could have afforded but my girlfriend at the time (my wife now) was going there for a conference anyway and since her flight was covered that made the trip affordable. From that trip two things still standout in my mind: a sunburn and a magazine.

Because my girlfriend was attending a conference there was no point in me being there until the conference was over. My flight landed early in the morning, around 9am as I recall, but she wouldn’t be ready until the middle of the afternoon. Since I had a few hours to kill I went to a spring training baseball game. The game was at the spring home of the Expos Nationals and it was a great day for baseball. Certainly better than freezing my ass off in Edmonton. As it turns out though it was actually a little too nice that day and I got a brutal sunburn. Less than six hours in the state and I was burnt to a crisp. The rest of the trip the burn hurt whenever I was in the sun and as it turns out Florida is a sunny place.

Then there was the magazine I brought with me on the trip, a special edition from The Hockey News called Great Debates. It was a fantastic read. Wish I knew where it ended up to be honest. Some of the debates I remember included: the best dynasty (1980s Oilers), was Hull’s foot in the crease (hell yes it was), who is the best passer (Gretzky), contraction (yes as long as you don’t contract Edmonton),  the instigator rule (get rid of it), and of course mandatory visors (absolutely). Thanks to the Google I was able to track down a site that lists all the debates. I’m not sure I’ve ever looked more Canadian that I did on that vacation, sitting by the pool reading a hockey magazine while at the same time trying to avoid the sun to keep from burning more.

From that magazine an argument in the visor debate has always stuck with me. The gist of the argument was that it’s not whether or not visors should be mandatory but whether or not we should even care. To me that argument still gets right to the heart of the issue. If I was a player I’d do anything I could to extend my career and keep earning millions of dollars a year for as long as possible. But even though it seems like common sense to me should I really care if a player doesn’t want to wear visor? They are the ones assuming the risk after all, if they don’t care about about their safety why should I?

And you could say the exact same thing about head shots and concussions. Read more…

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