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Concussion Sidelines Carolina’s Cam Ward

Concussion Sidelines Carolina’s Cam Ward

The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Cam Ward on the Injured Reserve list on Wednesday with a concussion according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer.

On January 12, Ward was hit in the mask by a shot from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Phil Kessel, a shot that knocked Ward’s helmet off.

He finished the game and played again two days later but complained of dizziness on Tuesday and was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion.

Concussions are difficult for all players, but it may take more time for goaltenders to recover fully. In 2013, Ryan Miller and James Reimer talked with InGoal about their experiences with concussions, especially with coming back too early.

“Part of it is you lose the ability to focus and that’s our whole job,” Miller said. “I felt off for quite a while.”

Toronto’s James Reimer went through a similar experience last season, struggling for months after his return from an apparent head injury that wasn’t properly diagnosed as a neck problem until he was shut down shortly before the season ended. It wasn’t until working with what he called a “Manual Therapist” that he even realized just how off he had been feeling.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but lights turn back on that you didn’t realize were out,” Reimer said.

 

Ward joins a growing list of NHL goalies with confirmed concussions this season. The Ottawa Senators’ Andrew Hammond, the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta, and the Minnesota Wild’s Darcy Kuemper have also missed time due to concussions incurred by shots off their masks. The Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury had a concussion in December, although it is unknown what the cause was.

On returning to the lineup after a month, Hammond echoed Miller’s and Reimer’s sentiments about their injuries.

“Any time you get injured it’s frustrating,” he said. “For me the toughest part was just never having been down the road of having had a concussion before. Not knowing what to expect and it took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think there’s enough going on right now in the media and everything that you can never be too safe with head injuries now.

“Obviously in hindsight now I’m pretty happy that I did take a little bit of extra time to get healthy and not rush back.”

While Ward is out, netminding duties will fall to Eddie Läck and Daniel Altshuller, who has been called up from the Charlotte Checkers. The Hurricanes have 4 games in the upcoming  week before the All Star break.

About The Author

Clare Austin

Clare Austin is a reluctant "stats nerd" living in Nashville, where she has never worn a cowboy hat or boots.

2 Comments

  1. Johnnyeightoh7

    I wonder with more concussions for NHL goalies that there needs to be a change in mask design to reduce them? Players’ sticks have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years so shots are a lot harder but masks have been relatively the same since the 90’s. I mean the combo is gone for the most part but masks are still made with roughly the same materials, shape and processes. Perhaps there needs to be a change in material that makes it harder for the puck to hit the mask flat which is the general cause of concussion and/or head injuries.

    Reply
    • JP

      You are right that there needs to be a change about masks, but you are wrong the materials are the same since the 90’s. And there where professional hockey players that could fire pucks at tremendous speeds many years ago, with wood and aluminum sticks. Al Iafratie, Reed Larson, Brad Palmer, Gary Sargent, and of course Al MacInnes, (and many more).
      Why I have knowledge in all of this is because I myself make high end custom goalie masks in Canada and had several N.H.Lers using them, (one being Trevor Kidd).
      Where the problems lies is several mask makers decided to use paper thin carbon fiber materials (look what happens to hockey sticks), and others have been ill fitting. I actually warned goalies and trainers about this over a decade 1/2 ago and Glenn Healy finally spoke up about this topic on the hockey broadcasts in the Vancouver/Boston Stanley Cup finals.
      And speaking of the 90’s, concussions with masks were not an issue and it wasn’t because pro hockey players could not shoot hard. it was because of the Greg Harrison goalie masks, still one of the strongest even to this day. The ones I model myself after.
      One obvious example was when I was seeing the Nashville Predators a few years back and their trainer raced out to show me one of their broken masks. I turned it around and pointed out the inside and I said ‘look what it’s made out of’.
      And when I was seeing A.H.L teams when we had the Abbotsford Heat in the west. I continually kept hearing horror stories regarding masks. Broken teeth, broken eardrums, cuts and stitches inside mouths and on foreheads, concussions, and of course the ones in the N.H.L that get media attention. Plus, one other classics was when I was talking to the NCAA RPI Mens Hockey trainer. He informed me one of the carbon graphite masks a player brought with him from Europe split right in half. And these are just a few examples.
      You are absolutely right, there needs to be a change. But people have to learn and listen. It’s that simple.

      Reply

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