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Will Sidney Crosby's Career Be Cut Short?

April WeinerCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2011

Will Sidney Crosby's Career Be Cut Short?

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    CTV reported that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby suffered another setback this summer and might miss the beginning of the season.

    As this story hit the news wire, Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, quickly refuted these claims, saying that Crosby has adjusted his training, but it's too soon to speculate on whether or not he'll miss the start of the season.

    The fact that Crosby has adjusted his training at the very least once again sparks discussion of Crosby's future.  

    This news of a setback comes amid Dave Scatchard's retirement from hockey due to the lingering effects of post-concussion syndrome. 

    It's easy to see why people are questioning his return, but let's take it a step further: what effect will this have on Crosby's career?

    Let's take a look at all the factors.  

Average Recovery Time for Concussions

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    Doctors are quick to point out that every concussion is different and thus requires different recovery periods.

    However, aside from a few high-profile incidents, most players, particularly NHL players, recovery time is short, at least for the first concussion. 

    In fact, even the original estimation for Crosby's return was about a week.

    A study conducted on concussion victims in the NHL from 1997-2004 found that first-time concussions required, on average, six days for recovery.

    The study found that each subsequent concussion took longer to heal than the first.

    Obviously, Crosby has spent much longer recovering from his first concussion and if he suffers another in the future, as he's more susceptible now that he's suffered one, his recovery time could be even longer and it could put his future at risk.   

Players Who Have Struggled to Return for This Long

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    While players on average recover from concussions in a week or longer, as the study in the previous slide noted, Sidney Crosby isn't alone in his lengthy recovery. 

    Marc Savard is currently still trying to recover from post-concussion syndromes stemming from multiple severe concussions and might be forced to retire early as well.

    Brian Pothier spent more than a year to recover from a January 2008 concussion, the fourth of his career.

    Pierre-Marc Bouchard took longer than a year to recover from a concussion, after attempting to return too soon.  

    What these players all have in common is that either they suffered multiple concussions or a setback after attempting to come back too quickly. 

    While Crosby only suffered the one concussion, there is the theory that Crosby actually suffered two concussions back in January between the two games.

    If that is the case, that's two significant traumas in a short period of time and would sideline any player this long; that would also put Crosby further at risk in the future.  

Players Who Have Retired Due to the Effects of Concussion

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    Some concussions have forced players to retire. 

    Probably the most famous example of this is Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau, who was forced to premature retirement after suffering multiple head injuries throughout his career. 

    Another instance is Ian Laperriere, who has missed more than a year and has all but retired. Laperrierre suffered a concussion, among other serious injuries, after taking a puck to his right eye.

    The latest forced retiree is Dave Scatchard, who announced his retirement yesterday after failing to overcome his post concussion syndromes.  

Should Sidney Crosby Retire Too?

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    Back in March, shortly after Crosby had suffered the concussion, a rumor hit the Internet that Crosby's family was asking him to retire, so as not to risk his future healthy.

    That rumor was proved false, but in the wake of the latest Crosby update, others are expressing their opinion that he should retire.

    One Toronto Star columnist gave his argument as to why Crosby should retire, which was quickly countered by an NESN columnist.  

    The argument for Crosby's retirement is that he's already accomplished everything any hockey player hopes to accomplish: winning the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, as well as every personal award there is. Why risk his health for pretty much no reason?

    However, Crosby has only just turned 24 years old. He doesn't play the game of hockey for the accolades; he plays because he loves the sport.

    While there is a logical argument to the retirement rumors, it's too ridiculous to happen—unless suddenly doctors tell him he must retire, something that seems highly unlikely despite his numerous reported setbacks.

    If Crosby returns and suffers another serious head trauma, then the retirement arguments would have some merit.  

Conclusion

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    In conclusion, it's impossible to know when Crosby will finally make his comeback, but in all likelihood, he will return eventually. 

    It's also impossible to say if he'll play any differently.

    According to the team and people surrounding him, they expect that Crosby will return and won't play his game any differently.

    However, one has to assume that for at least a short period of time, Crosby will be a little more careful and shy away from big players or places he might take a big hit; it's just human nature.

    This is because a harsh reality is that Crosby might be one hard or medium-sized hit away from missing another significant period of time or even forced retirement.

    For now, retirement sounds ludicrous, but after another significant hit, it could unfortunately become a reality or a logical option.  

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