Sidney Crosby, one of the greatest hockey players to ever play the game, suffered recurring concussions starting back in 2011. It all started on January 1st during the winter classic game against the Washington Capitals. During the second period of the game, Crosby was blindsided by the shoulder of Dave Steckel. At the time, nothing was suspected; Crosby went to the locker room and later returned to finish the game. It was only four days later when Crosby once again skated off the ice after a hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. Once again Crosby returned to the ice, but after the game, it was announced that Crosby would be out for a little while. The next time Crosby laced up his skates was nine months later in November. This wasn’t the end of Crosby’s nightmare; he didn’t even make it to the end of December. He made another attempt to play hockey in March 2012. Crosby had no issues until a practice in October 2016 where he was diagnosed with another small concussion. He returned within the month and played until May 1st, 2017 when he was forced to hang up the skates again after another hard collision with a Washington player.
Sidney Crosby’s history proves that he is vulnerable; the repetitive impacts to his head will most likely cause more serious problems with each repetition. Crosby is only one of many athletes to push himself to play while fighting an injury. Why do athletes want to play through the pain? Do they understand the risks they put on their body? Most athletes know that playing while injured will only slow down their recovery period and make things worse, however they want to be loyal to their team, following in the footsteps of soldiers on the battlefield. Individuals that have a strong athletic identity feel like they’re nothing without sports, they’re willing to tough it out and play. Athletes also over conform due to influence and pressure from parents, coaches, teammates and themselves. In their minds the pain is better than sitting on the bench and losing their position on the starting lineup or being laughed at for being viewed as weak. We’ve all heard the saying “no pain, no gain”. A survey was done on 275 men and women at the University of Calgary. On average, 70 percent were willing to play sports while injured. Of those 275 participants, women were found to be more likely to play while injured, and athletes that had a coach or trainer were also more willing. Injuries are difficult to avoid while playing sports, the best way to recover from an injury is to rest and allow your body time to recover. Most athletes focus on getting back on their feet as soon as possible, but this will only lead to more damage down the line.
Image: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar