Marian Hossa Injury: Ugly Hit Puts Spotlight Back on Concussions
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After last night's 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, the city of Chicago and the entire Blackhawks team weren't as worried about their 2-1 series deficit as they were about the safety of their linemate Marian Hossa.
Coyotes habitual offender Raffi Torres left his feet and launched shoulder-first into the defenseless Hossa at the 11:51 mark of the first period. Hossa had to be carted off on a stretcher, and according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, he won't be back for the remainder of the series and could possibly be out for the rest of the postseason.
However, as ugly as the hit was on Hossa (bad by even the NHL's fierce standards), the focus should not be on the punishment for Torres or the bad blood spilled between these two teams in the pursuit of a Stanley Cup. Those two things will work themselves out on their own.
Concussion prevention has been an unpopular topic in both the NFL and the NHL for over a year now. Torres and guys like Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison have been on the wrong side of the law in the concussion battle, and as long as it's still a topic, the two leagues aren't doing enough to prevent them.
Sidney Crosby, the poster boy for the league and one of the most talented athletes the sport has to offer, has missed the majority of two seasons from a number of ailments; those ailments started with a concussion.
Specifically, for the NHL, it's imperative that they use this Hossa hit as a benchmark for concussion awareness and prevention going forward. It doesn't matter if the league wants to review their policy for clean hits, add bars to the helmets of the skaters or turn three-game suspensions into 30 games, something must be done.
Although most hockey players will tell you that hits are a part of the game, suffering a head injury that costs you the majority of your adult life is not. It's in the best interest of the league and the players they support to fight this concussion issue head on and not have to face a life-threatening issue like concussions because of poor attention paid to the problem.
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