Colorado Avalanche: Facing Concussions in Modern Hockey

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Oct 23, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) reacts after being hit with the puck during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. The Canadiens won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Magic Bullet Doesn’t Exist

What if there was some kind of helmet that protected the athlete’s brain so well, we could point to it, announce its miracle work to the world and declare the concussion conundrum resolved? Well, that will never happen, but I bet the NFL is looking into it.

We’ve seen a few attempts at something like that (which we’ll review in a sec), but for now, it seems that the laws of physics are still relevant when it comes to violent collisions and brains.

Alright, then. What if we make the model of professional football and ice hockey to that of a sport without any allowed heavy contact – like soccer, for argument’s sake. Hypothetically, I guess it could work, although honestly, I don’t think the fans of either sport would go for it.

Imagining playoff hockey without hard checking, or a league where football linemen join in a scrum instead of a upper body crash gives me the feeling like trying to take punching to the head out of boxing. I mean, it COULD technically work. I’m just not sure we’d keep watching. We’d definitely have to adjust.

Again, just my opinion here, but the reaction from the NFL to all of the damning research about concussions reminds me of Big Tobacco. It turns out, that yeah, concussions are bad for business if you’re the NFL.

What the research shows is really awful, but if you make amends now (without admitting guilt) then you can continue to grow your market and legally say that you warned people if it comes up again. Nobody really wins, but it was never a scenario that anyone could.

Next: Reality of Hard & Fast Sports