Eric Lindros made an immense suggestion. While it’s got validity, will it fly?

Eric Lindros was the top of the top player in the NHL, of that there’s no doubt, but his retirement that was forced upon him by concussions has changed his view on hockey a bit.

On August 17, in London Ontario, Lindros said it’s time for the NHL to seriously think about removing body contact from the game.  Not selectively, but entirely.

When he began his professional career, he was awesome skill-wise, because no other player was anywhere close to him, even remotely.  He was the best of the best, and wasn’t afraid to be the best at beating the hell out of someone.   He’s still playing, after his forced-retirement in 2007, but how they play is that they don’t run into each other.  It’s all skill with the puck, and he’s still second-to-none.

I think that while what he’s suggesting may sound drastic, and scare some people with the significance of it, but when you think about it, it makes sense.  Take out what makes the game dangerous for players, both while they’re playing and after they’ve retired, and accentuate the skill-elements.

I can’t ride a conventional bike, but there are benefits. But, what to call it??

It’s taken me a while, from a deep low, but I’m now always trying to get lemonade from what’s first-seen as lemons.  Granted that this a somewhat unconventional ride, I don’t get saddle sores, but it’s made worse by the fact that I don’t know what to call it!   Technically, it’s a tricycle, but whenever someone hears that term, they think of something that little kids ride, that’s kinda slow.    When I ride this, I wear clip-in shoes, like fast-bikes wear, and I’ve reached 42 km/h as my max speed.

However, based on what’s thought when someone hears the term, they expect something like this.

I think that using the correct term “recumbent” is best!  Because if someone hears it, and knows what it is, excellent,  but if they don’t, they’ll ask!  There isn’t anything that would come to mind, if you don’t know the term!

What I share with kids at PARTY

When I do my monthly PARTY talks at the hospital, who’s there are grade 11s, basically either just got, or about to get their drivers license.   They’re learning about the effects of decisions.   But, I don’t only talk about drinking & driving, but other decisions.  I ask them to put their hands up if they always ride their bikes with a helmet on.  I’ve asked every group in the last few years, and every time, I’m surprised if someone holds up their hand.  When I started to ask it, I thought that maybe one or two might not, but everyone else would.  I was stunned that in the first class I asked, not a single kid held up their hand.  In fact, it wasn’t until the third group that someone held up their hand.  I asked, saying that there’s no reason to not tell me why, because I won’t judge.  I’ve heard that it messes up their hair, that it’s hot, it’s uncomfortable, and so on.  I share with the kids that there’s absolutely no reason that would be good enough to not wear one.  I say that the man who hit us was behind us, doing about 60, and we’d had no warning.   I was driven over, and the only reason that I’m not dead is because of my helmet.  I’ll start asking the classes to raise their right hand, and promise that they’ll wear theirs.

What I’m going to try to champion

Living in Richmond is pretty good, it’s a small town, everyone knows me by sight (probably something like “that nice disabled guy”), but the bike paths are non-existent for me.  I can’t ride a conventional bicycle.

My ride is about 3′ wide, and about 2′ off the ground.  At the speeds that I ride at, I’m pretty much completely invisible.   The roads that I’d prefer to ride on, because they’re outside town, don’t have many intersections, and are long, but have speed limits of 80 km/h.

I’m fast, but nowhere near that.  I’ve approached the city councillor for the area, asked him for his help, and I’m not sure when, but I’ll be getting going at getting it done!

 

It’s perspective, and visibility

This past weekend I was in Toronto, at a charity awareness hockey game, organized by StopConcussions.com.  There were closer to 50 people playing, and the message was clear.  The occurrence of a brain injury can’t be completely prevented, other than living in a box, and doing nothing.

Before the game, Kerry talked about what the day represents, and introduced me to the group.   I looked at the group, there were at least 3 retired NHL players, a para-olympian, a woman who I think is an Olympian of some sport, but it was me who was speaking.   There were several people in the group who approached me after, saying that they’d suffered an injury, and weren’t the same.  But, the fact that they’d suffered the injury was completely invisible.  I heard that Keith (Primeau) felt the effects of his multiple-concussions for upwards of something like 7 years after retiring.  However, he’s the ultimate example of its invisibility.  He walks unaffected, and he speaks with no issue.

The mission of Never Stop is “To support and promote public awareness and education on brain injuries” and this past weekend I helped do that.  While the participants were familiar with the injury, my addressing them showed another aspect of it, which is the invisibility element.  I used to hate how I was, because of all that I’d lost, but with the evolution of Never Stop, it’s given back to me what I lost.

The name, Never Stop, is more than just a name, it’s a feeling that people should embrace.  That no matter what happens to you, unless you’re dead, you should Never Stop.  I lost the coolest job, I lost the ability to do triathlons, but I decided to Never Stop.

I ride a tricycle, and planning to get an Alinker, to enable me to walk at a pace that would make me race-capable.  While the name of it is Never Stop, it also represents the mindset that it promotes.

 

 

If you’re faced with something new, ask yourself why you don’t do it: is it that you can’t – or won’t?

I do a talk at the hospital every month, as part of PARTY (http://partyprogram.com), to help kids make the right choices.  That’s the core element of what I share about – choice.  I ask the kids that the next time they’re faced with something new, and they hesitate, to ask themselves this:  Is this something that I can’t do, or won’t.
I’m permanently disabled because of the wrong choice that someone made.  I can’t swim as I used to, I can’t ride a conventional bicycle, and I can’t run as I used to.  But, while doing something as I used to isn’t possible anymore, when faced doing it, I choose to find alternate ways.   Swimming is something that I think will be impossible, because drowning is a likely result, however, the others can be adapted.   It’s not likely possible that I’ll do a triathlon again, but I could do a  duathlon.

On the left is my tricycle, and on the right is the Alinker.   It’s a walking-ride.  I could get one, train to use it to “run” the part of the duathlon.
The next time that you find yourself faced with something that you’ve never done before, and you’re hesitating, ask yourself this:  Can’t I do it, or won’t I?

 

Focus on the good

I’ve struggled with self-acceptance, because a while after I woke up from my coma, I couldn’t see any.  What I’d lost was significant, and I simply couldn’t think of anything good about me.  I said to myself “I couldn’t…” before pretty much everything that I could think of.  Then, when I met Kerry Goulet, things changed.  He’s a former hockey player, in Germany, who’d suffered a lot of concussions.  He runs StopConcussions.com, a Not-For-Profit that’s so incredibly successful that I always have to remind myself that he’d suffered ABIs.   He’s been such an incredible element in helping me realize that all isn’t bad.   I think that together, our organizations can make a difference, to the holy-crap level.   But, let’s be honest, for the next little while, most of the awesome-ness will be from his side, but I’m determined to learn how to make our contribution make a difference.

Supreme Court sides with CFL: Arland Bruce’s claim for concussion-related damages must go to arbitration – they #NeverStop fighting the league, and #ConquerABI

There will be no day in court for Arland Bruce.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced Thursday morning it had denied an application by Bruce’s lawyers for leave to appeal two British Columbia court rulings that the former wide receiver must go to arbitration with his claim for concussion-related damages against the Canadian Football League and former CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

Bruce’s lawyers had argued his case was an exception to legal precedents, including a 1995 Supreme Court ruling, that unionized workers must generally take injury-related claims to arbitration as set out in collective agreements between unions and employers.

The contract between the league and the CFL Players’ Association, most recently updated in 2014, caps medical coverage at 12 months and says players who are released or otherwise terminated — such as those who fail physical exams at the following training camp — have 10 days to file injury-rehabilitation claims.

It claimed that the CFL and its teams, Cohon, the CFL Alumni Association and its president, Leo Ezerins, brain-injury specialist Dr. Charles Tator and the Krembil Neuroscience Centre of Toronto knew or should have known about the long-term risk of brain injury resulting from concussive and sub-concussive blows and that Bruce was allowed to return to play in games despite continuing concussion symptoms.

Those claims have not been tested in court or arbitration.

Lawyers for the CFL and the other responding parties in the original claim argued that arbitration could provide an effective remedy for injury-related claims from players. The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in their favour in March 2016.

Bruce subsequently dropped the claim against all parties except the CFL and Cohon and sought to have the original ruling overturned, but a panel of judges from the British Columbia Court of Appeal sided with the CFL and Cohon last May.

During that proceeding, a lawyer for the CFL said Bruce would be permitted to submit a claim through arbitration if the league prevailed in the current legal process, even though his claim would be filed well outside the normal deadline for filing.

The CFL on Thursday released a prepared statement saying it was “very pleased with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision.  We hope that this decision brings finality to any proceedings in the courts with respect to concussion litigation against the CFL.”

A class-action claim for concussion-related damages involving more than 200 former CFL players was filed in Ontario in 2015. That case has remained on hold pending resolution of the jurisdictional issues involved with Bruce’s claim, so Thursday’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling will almost certainly affect it, too.

More to come.

He’s the epitome of #NeverStop. Not challenged by a brain injury, but he’s the same.

Brian McKeever is a big fan of the line from the movie The Shawshank Redemption that advises us all to “get busy living or get busy dying.”

No matter the challenge or setback, McKeever clearly chooses the former on his well-beaten path to the Paralympic podium.

Twenty years after learning he was losing his eyesight, the Canmore, Alta. product claimed gold Sunday — alongside guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy — in the men’s 20-kilometre cross-country ski freestyle race.

The medal is the 14th of his storied career, making McKeever Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian; the late Lana Spreeman won 13 medals in para-alpine skiing between 1980 and 1994. 

Chalk it up as another example of McKeever getting busy living — so busy, in fact, that he didn’t realize until recently that the record was within reach.

His Paralympic resume now includes 11 gold, two silver and one bronze, with more chances for medals to come in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“These guys did a great job of towing me today,” McKeever marvelled after the race. “They took care of me the whole way.”

Former RB Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells seeking treatment for brain injury – because he’ll #NeverStop and #ConquerABI

Former Ohio State and NFL running back Chris “Beanie” Wells is seeking treatment for a brain injury he believes was caused by playing football.

Wells, speaking Monday morning on 97.1 The Fan radio in Columbus, Ohio, said he had been absent from his radio show on the station as he sought medical advice and treatment in California. The former All-Big Ten running back and NFL first-round draft pick said he recently underwent an MRI on his brain after experiencing headaches and some speech and memory problems.

“I have some plaque separation,” Wells, 29, told his co-host Tim Hall on “The Tim and Beanie Show.’ “And when you have that plaque separation, it shows that you experienced some sort of traumatic brain injury. Obviously that traumatic injury for me would come from playing football. Not only that. They had some cells tacked on to that separated plaque that I needed to get under control.

“I’m still not out of the woods yet, but it’s coming. I’m hopeful.”

Wells played for Ohio State from 2006 to 2008, winning three Big Ten championships, before being selected No. 31 overall in the 2009 NFL draft. He played four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals but struggled with several injuries. Wells had 2,471 rushing yards in 51 career games with Arizona.

Wells said he has always spoken quickly but has struggled to find words before speaking.

“When you start to feel a little bit indifferent upstairs, it scares you,” Wells said. “So you want to go and get that checked out, and it was going on for about six or seven months. I’m just glad at this point in time I have an answer for it, and I’m addressing getting it squared away.”

Wells said he would appear on his radio show at least once a week while he continues to receive treatment in California.