March 08, 2011
One of the most frustrating things about Sidney Crosby's(notes) concussion, which has kept the Pittsburgh Penguins star out of the NHL since Jan. 5 and derailed what could have been a career year, is the fortuitous nature of the injury.
He didn't suffer one in a fight or on a flying hit to the head from an opponent. Even if you wanted to categorize former Washington Capitals center David Steckel's contact with Crosby's head in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic as reckless, it wasn't intentional.
Which is to say that one never knows when concussions will occur; and that's something the Crosby family has learned twice now in 2011.
The 14-year-old at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a prep school in Minnesota with a renowned hockey program that her famous brother also attended, is a goalie for the under-16 team. She was hurt in practice about two weeks ago, sat out a week and missed two games. Taylor, who is practising again with the team, has an 11-7-4 record and 2.00 goals-against average and is believed to be on Hockey Canada's radar.
Taylor Crosby plays at Shattuck-St. Mary's, seven years after her older brother did. Among her teammates was Stephanie Lemieux, Mario's daughter and someone Taylor considers a "cousin." (She's currently playing in Pittsburgh.) Check out this Prep Rally feature for more on Taylor Crosby.
Crosby's parents couldn't be reached by the Star, which noted that "those who know them say the hockey family is devastated at the turn of events." And rightfully so.
The news was originally reported deep inside a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story that discussed the concussion suffered by Penguins GM Ray Shero's son. From the Trib:
"Whether it's Sidney Crosby or your own son, whatever the process is going to be, it's going to be," Shero said. "The problem with concussions is that we really don't know. It's the unknown. ... I don't know if it scares you. You're just cautious with how you treat your son, your players. ... They all have parents. They're kids, you know. They've got their life ahead of them."
Sidney Crosby's concussion has opened the dialogue about player safety at all levels, from the NHL down to Shattuck-St. Mary's. Dr. Charles Tator, an expert on brain injuries, was asked if certain families might simply be more susceptible to concussions.
"We do wonder whether some families have a special susceptibility to concussion. But there's no proof for this," he told the Star, citing Eric and Brett Lindros as an example of that curious trend.
Meanwhile, Crosby's concussion and other brain injuries this season in the NHL are expected to dominate the conversation at the GM meetings next week.
"I don't think within our ranks we are treating this issue any differently because Sidney Crosby has been out two months," NHL VP Bill Daly told USA Today for a lengthy piece on concussions.
Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who suffered numerous concussions during his NHL career, disagreed, telling USA Today that it's a vital moment for player safety:
"I'm all for a physical game played with intensity at a high level," he says. "But if you hit a player in the head, you have to be held accountable. I remember a few years ago, I said, 'What is it going to take - a Sidney Crosby or an Alex Ovechkin(notes) out of our game for us to finally wake up?' I think maybe we are finally waking up. I hope so, anyway."
Daly said there have been as many concussions this season so far as all of last season.