New Head Injury to Marc Savard Highlights TBI Recovery Issues

The issue of Oregon traumatic brain injuries and sports has been covered in this space on a number of previous occasions. I have noted in the past that while Portland is not an NHL city, the increased attention being paid to head injuries and concussions in the hockey world merits our attention.

Last spring I wrote about the serious concussion suffered by Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Savard, one of the team’s stars, was knocked unconscious by a check to the head and taken off the ice on a stretcher. He returned briefly during the playoffs about two months later but was clearly far from 100% and was placed back on the disabled list soon afterward. Partly because of the injury to Savard (one of several especially serious head injuries in the latter part of last season) the league revised its rules on hits to the head before the current season began in October.

Savard himself missed the first two months of the current season. After playing well over the last six weeks, however, he is once again spending time with doctors, rather than on the ice in the wake of yet another blow to the head and yet another possible concussion in a game against Colorado last week, according to the Boston Globe.

What makes this latest injury of special interest to Oregon athletes and their parents is its repetitive nature. Unlike the brutal check Savard sustained last year, last week’s hit was not, by NHL standards, especially nasty (though it probably would have bought the checking player an ejection from a college game and would certainly have merited a penalty in a game played under international rules – such as an Olympic or World Championship game). Yet, according to the Globe, the hit has likely ended Savard’s season and may, at age 33, have ended his career. There is a lesson for Portland, Ashland, Salem and other Oregon parents here: a reminder that head injuries are particularly serious and that a nominally less severe second or third incident can build on an initial injury to cause greater damage.

These are exactly the sort of issues that victims and their families are well-advised to discuss with a Portland brain and spinal cord injury attorney at the earliest possible opportunity. Youth sports leagues, high schools and colleges have an obligation to offer their athletes adequate protection. When they fail to do so an Oregon TBI lawyer can be an essential ally for families seeking to ensure that justice is served.

Boston Globe: A win – with a catch

Boston Globe: Savard leaves hole at center