Skip to content

Primeau, Shanahan appear in “Head Games” documentary about concussions

Dec 24, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Brendan Shanahan Getty Images

Concussions and controversial hits have faded into the background thanks to the lockout, but head injuries are still a major concern and storyline in modern sports.

Filmmaker Steve James (of “Hoop Dreams” fame) decided to tackle the issue of concussions in his 2011 documentary “Head Games,” which includes prominent appearances from Brendan Shanahan and Keith Primeau.*

The documentary leans heaviest toward the NFL and football in general, but the NHL’s issues – and measures to make changes – also surface frequently. Some of the clips and photos might bring back some tough memories, as the movie shows memorable checks such as Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty and also discusses the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Bob Probert.

Yet even though James’ documentary brings up some difficult questions for hockey and sports in general, James told NHL.com that the league has been progressive in many areas.

“I do think all the sports have a ways to go in terms of how they handle rules and discussions around concussions, but the NHL has certainly been more forward-thinking on this issue than football,” James said.

” … I think the fact that Brendan Shanahan has taken that role and taken it very seriously is a very positive thing. Daly was obvious and candid about the League’s view [in the film]. He basically said there is going to be brain injuries, no way around it. I think it was great he was willing to state it.”

You can read a little more about it – including Primeau’s emotional presence in the film - in NHL.com’s article or check out the movie via various outlets. (It’s on Netflix Instant Queue, for instance.)

* -You might not be as excited to see Bill Daly thanks to his prominence in the CBA discussions, but he makes a cameo, too.

  1. chrisvegas - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    This should be an interesting film. Concussions are a big problem. Keith Premeau was one of my favorite players and it was a shame to see his career end early with concussion problems. It seems like my favorite players always lose their careers to concussion in Pronger, Lindros, and Premo. I really think the problem with it is the equipment. In football for instant the helmets encourage hitting with your head. Hopefully something can be done as to many great hockey players are suffering concussion injuries.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Johansen (2352)
  2. J. Harding (2015)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1566)
  4. S. Crosby (1466)
  5. J. Quick (1358)
  1. D. Kuemper (1345)
  2. S. Bennett (1268)
  3. A. Ovechkin (1113)
  4. B. Schenn (1089)
  5. K. Timonen (1060)