Friday, March 4, 2011

Rangers Decision Making On Gaborik Concussion Rattles The Brain

The way that Marian Gaborik and the New York Rangers are approaching his recovery from a concussion is just baffling.  Skating on Wednesday after experiencing no symptoms is the right approach, but for him to skate yesterday when he woke up with headaches and even worse for him to fly to Ottawa with the team today are bad choices.  Concussions are not like broken bones in which you have a set timetable to assume the appropriate level of healing.  They are unpredictable and for every step forward you can get one or two in the wrong direction.  It is a slow process that cannot be rushed and the more it is pushed the worse the results will be in the end.  With that in mind it makes no sense for the Rangers and Gaborik to take unnecessary risks with his recovery, especially when he isn’t even going to play.
Yesterday, despite the headaches he had before skating, Gaborik said that he wanted to play tonight in Ottawa.  Are you serious?  This thinking strikes me as someone who has a concussion and cannot think clearly.  There is wanting to help the team and you have to respect that, but frankly wanting to play while still having concussion symptoms is stupid.
When asked about the possibility of Gaborik playing against the Senators tonight, coach John Tortorella dismissed that possibility out of hand. "No, He still has symptoms."  That is absolutely the right approach and he should not even be considered a possibility until he has multiple symptom free days, much in the way the Stars have handled the Brad Richards concussion.  The problem is the organization followed up that right move by Tortorella with deciding it was a good idea to let Gaborik fly with them to Ottawa.  Again, are you serious?
Someone is going to have to explain to me the logic of putting a player with a head injury on a plane to fly to Ottawa for a game he is not going to play.  How bad the organizational understanding of concussions that they think this is a good idea?  There are zero positives that come out of him making the trip and combination of the altitude and the cabin pressure can only set back his issues.  There is no reason to do something like this and it shows just how misunderstood concussions are and how lightly the severity of them is taken.  The entire process going on around the treatment of this concussion leaves me wondering if everyone involved should be checked for concussion symptoms.