SBD/September 8, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Crosby Urges NHL To Ban Head Shots As He Struggles To Recover From Injury

Crosby confident he will return to the ice during the '11-12 NHL season
Penguins C Sidney Crosby thinks that the NHL "should ban blows to the head" as he continues to recover from a concussion suffered in January, according to Sean Gordon of the GLOBE & MAIL. Crosby, speaking publicly about his head injury for the first time, said, "I don’t think there’s a reason not to take them out. I read a stat that there’s 50,000 hits in a year, and we’re talking about 50, maybe. You know, 50 head shots. And to take those out, the game’s not going to change." He added, "It's a fast game, but we’ve got to be responsible too. A guy’s got to be responsible with his stick, why shouldn’t he be responsible with the rest of his body when he’s going to hit someone?” Gordon notes there is "still no timetable for Crosby's return" from the concussion that forced him to miss the second half of the '10-11 NHL season (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/8). Crosby yesterday called playing this season "likely" and said he "wouldn't bet on" the injury forcing him to retire. He noted that "only the headaches remain -- and those only after he approaches 90 percent exertion during workouts" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/8).

CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: Crosby said, "Whether accidental or non-accidental, you’ve got to be responsible. It could do a lot more good than what it’s going to take away from the game." In Toronto, Damien Cox writes, "Your move, Gary Bettman. You too, Don Fehr. Your league’s best player and most important union member doesn’t believe enough is being done to stop the wave of brain injuries in the sport, and Crosby didn’t even touch on the absurdity of supposedly cracking down on head shots while continuing to allow bare-knuckle fighting" (TORONTO STAR, 9/8). In Pittsburgh, Shelly Anderson writes the concussion has reduced Crosby "from perhaps the world's best hockey player and the face of the NHL to another name on what seems to be an ever-expanding list of concussion victims." Yesterday, he "took the big step of joining what seems to be a growing minority pushing to legislate hits to the head out of the NHL" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/8). Also in Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey writes, "Even if Crosby comes back this season, danger lurks. He would rejoin a league that still has such a thing as a 'legal head shot,' to quote NHL commissioner Gary Bettman -- and there is no predicting how Crosby's brain will react to the next big hit, no matter what the medical experts say" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/8).
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