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Neurosurgeon says Alfredsson would be “doing himself a disservice” by returning from concussion

Apr 16, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT


As reported earlier, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said he suffered a concussion after being elbowed by New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin on Saturday.

But that’s not all he said.

Alfredsson also told reporters he might play in Game 3 on Monday, a decision that’s come under scrutiny by one of Canada’s leading neurosurgeons.

Dr. Charles Tator — a volunteer with ThinkFirst, a none-profit group that deals with brain and spinal cord injury prevention — strongly advises against Alfredsson returning too quickly from his concussion.

“It’s not what we recommend,” Tator told the National Post. “We recommend that there should be a six-step process that you go through after a concussion to determine whether you’re ready to return to play.

“So if you have 24 hours between steps, it really means a week off. In our view, to try to give the brain enough opportunity to recover, we recommend a week.”

Alfredsson will be a game-time decision tonight, despite the fact he’s now suffered two concussions in the span of six months. The Senators captain suffered the first one in October when then-Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski caught him with an elbow to the head. Alfredsson missed five games — almost two full weeks of action — as a result.

Tator expressed concern over the 39-year-old putting himself at risk with a quick return this time around.

“[Alfredsson’s] probably doing himself a disservice by coming back too early,” he said.

  1. nobandwagoners - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    As much as Sens’ fans and Alfredsson would like to have him play, he’d be crazy to risk his long-term health right now. Sit out a game (at least) and see how he feels. It’s not like this game will be the final game of the series; of course, it’s important but so is his health. Not to mention that if he cause further damage then he’ll be gone likely for a very significantly longer period of time.

  2. phillyphever - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    IDK what he’s thinking, unless he wants to not have his career end by a concussion. Either way, he’s being stupid here.

  3. dawglb - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Prior to 2-3 years ago, everyone played with a “concussion”. It can be done. We have gone 180 degrees on this issue in a short time.

    • phillyboy20 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Just because it has been done before doesn’t mean he should do it. The long term effects of concussions, especially when you havent fully recovered from a previous one, are very serious. Over the past 5-10 years there have been alot of advances in concussion prognosis and treatment and this is not a good decision. The NCAA and NFL all have specific criteria for return to play after a concussion and the NHL should too. Maybe bc the team is in Canada it is different but in the US no competent athletic trainer or doctor would clear this guy to play 48hrs after a concussion, if he sustains another one there is no way they could defend their decision if they were taken to court.

      • phillyboy20 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        And im not knocking doctors or physiotherapists in Canada, just not sure what their laws are for negligence in the sport setting

  4. caps247 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Yeah, back in the old ancient NHL days people played through concussions as if they were just scratches but this new modern NHL era focuses on player safety. Why would you risk a player’s long term health for one game? What if he doesn’t even play any good that game? Players in the modern NHL aren’t as hardcore as players back then, who played with pure wooden sticks, less pads, and for some players, no helmets at all. It would be wise to just monitor his condition and not rush things to prevent a more serious injury, like one that could permanently end his career.

  5. hockeyflow33 - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I think a doctor is doing himself a disservice talking about a patient he hasn’t seen

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