The National Hockey League could soon see another player forced into early retirement because of too many concussions. As one of the Flyersʼ top center linesmen, Jeremy Roenick was often the target of crushing hits– hits that could now place the 16-year veteran off the ice for good.According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Roenick said he has had 10 concussions since entering the NHL in the 1988-89 season. Roenick told the Inquirer that his health has deteriorated since May 15 after Fredrik Modin of the Tampa Bay Lightning slammed him against the glass in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference ﬁ nals. Roenick also said that he showed the classic symptoms of a concussion, which include persistent and intense headaches.
Neurologist Karen Johnston tested Roenick at McGill University in Montreal over the weekend to ﬁ nd out how much damage was done to his brain, said the Inquirer. Johnston examined reports about Roenick
ʼs health dating back to Feb. 14, when a shot from New York Ranger Boris Mironov shattered the left side of his jaw. Roenick is not the ﬁ rst professional hockey player to consult Johnston.
Eric Lindros, a former Flyer, was advised by Johnston to sit out at least six months of the 2000-01 season to fully recover from multiple concussions he received during the previous season, said the Inquirer. The article also stated that Roenickʼs persistent headaches are almost identical to what Lindros suffered in 2000 after he was hit by Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference ﬁ nals.
In addition to Roenick and Lindros, Johnston also advised Stevens to sit out most of last season after she diagnosed him with post-concussion syndrome. The Rangersʼ goalie Mike Richter also retired last fall on Johnston ʼs recommendation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, concussion symptoms can range from vacant stares to confusion and inability to focus attention to disorientation and slurred or incoherent speech.
However, in cases like Roenick’s symptoms may not show up right after impact. According to CaringMedical.com, “headaches,chronic neck pain, difﬁculty concentrating, irritability, memory deﬁ cits, dizziness and
vertigo…usually persist for a few days following the injury.” According to the Inquirer, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said that Roenick passed his physical last season, and therefore is healthy until proven
If Roenick is determined to be unable to play, he will receive his $7.5 million salary. “Under the terms of the expiered collective- bargaining agreement, all injured players from last season must be paid, even during the lockout,” stated the Inquirer.