A black eye for hockey – The Globe and Mail

A black eye for hockey – The Globe and Mail.
One of the commentators on this story suggested that the hitter should stay off as long as his victim cannot play. This could, of course, result in a life-time ban from playing. Another suggests criminal charges.
Criminal charges should be laid, in my view. Anywhere but on the rink such an attack would be called what it is – criminal assault. But there is a defence. The young man who hit Marc Sivard, had a coach, and a manager. He played in a league which has a bizarre standard – no penalty was called – and can’t bring itself to suspend the offending player. What were his instructions when he went on the ice that day. Was he supposed to bring down a player who was such a threat that the coach wanted him taken out of the game? Was it payback for some hit in some other game?
We’ve just finished watching the game played at the highest level, by stringent rules, with no one damaged for life. Can’t the standards of the Olympics transplant to the NHL? Or is the core audience watching for the thrill of seeing thugs batter others.
In my medical practice, I’ve talked to the adult survivors of head injuries like this. They are struggling to raise families and deal with such ordinary matters as remembering appointments for their children. They apologize for their poor memories and their emotional responses in ordinary conversation. They tell me about being unable to drive, and having to rely on community organizations and disability pensions. And I only hear a little of the trouble, because I’m their children’s doctor, not their own.
The long term consequences of head injuries range from learning disabilities to marital breakdown. The article above talks about Marc Sivard’s life at the moment. I hope his recovery is complete, and that depends on how many concussions he’s had in the past, and how severely his brain was damaged this time.
Paediatricians are trying to ensure that children wear head-protecting helmets in sports as diverse as biking and snowboarding. We encourage no-contact. We are playing a losing game while this kind of attack goes unpunished.

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