Hits and checks have long been accepted as inherent to the game of hockey, but a decision by the NHL’s biggest star to sit out of the game indefinitely represents only the latest professional athlete to suffer lasting injuries to the brain.
Sidney Crosby last week cited lingering concussion-like symptoms from at least one blow to the head that left him out of the game for 10 months.
“I’ve got to make sure with these sort of things that I’m careful and aware and making sure I’m 100 percent before I come back,” Crosby, 24, told reporters in Pittsburgh last Monday. “You’ve got to listen to your body on these things.”
Frustrated with the long-term risk of these sports, one neurologist, along with many others in agreement, called for a ban on intentional hitting and fighting in the game of hockey.
Dr. Rajendra Kale, neurologist and interim editor-in-chief of the journal CMAJ, published an editorial today that cites several athletes who experienced repetitive blows to the head during contact sports. Such hits led to severe medical problems, including short-term and long-term memory loss, chronic headaches, sleep disorders, mood and behavioral problems, psychiatric changes and even early onset dementia.(abcnews)