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Miller, Reimer: Concussions Effect Goalies Differently – and Longer

Miller, Reimer: Concussions Effect Goalies Differently – and Longer

Head Games title page JPEGRyan Miller came back from last season’s well-publcized concussion in December, but the Buffalo Sabres star didn’t really get his game back until late January.

That’s because Miller wasn’t able to hold his focus for an entire 60-minute game until six weeks into his return, a shocking admission that both explains his struggles during that time and provides a scary example of just how hard concussions can be on an NHL goaltender – and how long they can effect their performance, even if they do return to action.

“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.

Miller and Reimer provide an important cautionary tale to other goaltenders trying to come back from a head or neck injury – and perhaps also to an NHL that at times seems so desperate for goals that it’s willing to sacrifice those charged with preventing them by refusing to protect them from hard-charging forwards. Without such protection – and likely even with it – there will be more goalies like Miller, who are affected for large chunks of a season, even if they only miss a month.

Both goaltenders talked about experiences coming back – perhaps too soon as it turned out – from concussions in the cover story of the January edition of InGoal Magazine, which also examines new treatment options for both head and neck injuries and how they can be related, including Cory Schneider’s experiences with a Vancouver chiropractor who has cleared many NHL cobwebs.

Be sure to read the complete article among 120 pages of goaltending in the January edition of InGoal Magazine.

Head Games title page JPEG

About The Author


  1. Gordon rupert

    Hello I am a 16 year old goalie playing for my high school, beavercreek high school, in Ohio. I play for my varsity team last year I was the only goalie and this year we miraclously we received another goalie. Anyways last year I ended the season with my first and sever concussion. It was caused by pucks to the head. It took a little but I recovered. I started this year just not the same. I couldn’t pinpoint it. Before I could though I received two straight concussions one after the other. I am still recovering from my third concussion which was diagnosed during the end of November and I’m still having symptoms and not seeming to get any better. My question is, is there any new helmet or drills that could help with concussions. Not that getting hit in the head is any good. But if I could help prevent another one that would be awesome. I have gone to several stores and researched a couple of different helmets. I haven’t seen any that jump out at me. So if you have any suggetsions that could help that would be awesome. Thank you.

    • Pete

      Wow that’s a lot of concussions for someone your age.
      What mask are you using if I may ask?

  2. McLovin


  3. Alexander Thermos,DO,DC

    Closed head injuries are a significant problem in sports, as evidenced today by the Pathology Reports on Junior Seau’s brain, previously playing football for the San Diego Chargers. Closed Head Injuries share many similarities with Stroke Patients, both Hemorrhagic and Ischemic types. I would refer you to the book by Paul Harch,MD “THE OXYGEN REVOLUTION”, speaking about the use of Hyperbaic Oxygen – Oxygen under pressure – and it’s treatment of the inflammatory condition resulting from the head trauma. Low pressure Hyperbarics (1.3 – 1.75 ATA, most dominantly treated @ 1.5 ATA) has been shown to be very helpful in Stroke Patients, and I would believe a clinical trial would be helpful for Concussion Patients. I would look into Hyperbaric Therapy, not in a hospital, since it would be an off-label use and the hospital would not use any services for off-label use. You would be looking for a free-standing private Practice that employs the use of HBOT for Patients – a google search of your State / HBOT would direct you to Doctors you could consult with. Know that recommendations range from 20 treatments at a minimum, with a maximum of 40 treatments consecutively. After treatment for 40 treatments, it is recommended that you take a 6-8 week hiatus from treatment to allow for healing to take place, with a re-evaluation at the end of that period.
    I would be happy to entertain questions that you may have.
    Alexander Thermos,DO,DC [email protected]

  4. Rick

    There is a motion picture in development that depicts a young hockey player dealing with the cumulative affects of a concussion and the life decisions he has to make as a result. Keep updated by visiting the website, twitter or Facebook.


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