The Dangers of Concussion in Professional Athletics
At the age of 25, Sidney Crosby is among the most recognizable professional athletes in Canada. He and his teammates on the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 and he earned a Gold Medal in the 2010 Olympics.
Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion after being struck in the head in January, 2011 and missed 10 months of playing time because of ongoing concussion symptoms. An incidental contact incident on December 5, 2011 caused even more time to be lost, and as far as we know, his skull remains misaligned.
Crosby signed a 12-year contract extension with the Penguins on July 1, 2012, worth more than $104.4 million (U.S.). He will receive $95.4 million of that amount over the first nine years, including an annual salary of $12 million for three seasons starting in 2013-2014.
But will Sidney Crosby be able to continue playing for the life of his contract extension? Or will it become necessary for him to retire early?
Blows to the head and accompanying concussions represent one of the most serious injuries experienced by hockey players, as well as professional athletes in general, forcing some of the best athletes in the world to retire before they had planned. The untimely deaths of four form NHL players, all within a four-month period in 2011 were attributable to suicide and depression caused by head injuries and concussions. Emotional pain is also a head and brain issue and can be linked to fighting in the NHL and repeated blows to the head.
Obviously, the Pittsburgh Penguins do not want Sidney Crosby to retire before his 12-year extension is complete; they provided him with the best available medical procedures and treatments, all to no avail.
It wasn’t until Crosby was examined by Ted Carrick, a chiropractic neurologist at Life University located near Atlanta that he was able to begin his recovery and return to the Penguin’s lineup. Treatment included strapping the NHL superstar into a computerized rotating “whole body gyroscopes” chair.
“It’s a good idea, and it works, in that it stimulates circulation to the parts of the brain that have been interfered with because the bones in the skull are out of place, although Crosby’s skull still hasn’t been adjusted,” explains master chiropractor Dr. Roger Turner D.C., of Turner Concussion & Wellness Centre in Barrie, Ontario.
After playing only eight games an incidental contact incident resulting in light-headedness and dizziness once again took Crosby out of commission on December 5, 2011. This resulted in even more medical treatment when it was discovered that there was an inflammation in his neck. Crosby returned to the Penguin’s lineup in time for the 2012 playoffs.
“We can only assume that Crosby was injected with cortisone,” says Dr. Turner. “Now, I don’t know for sure that’s what they did, but we can only assume. The problem with that is the cause of the problem is still there. The vertebrae and skull are still out of place and with cortisone you can’t feel the symptoms that still remain.”
Sidney Crosby Meets Dr. Roger Turner
Dr. Turner developed the unique and very effective Cranial Adjusting Turner Style (C.A.T.S.) principles for correcting misalignments in the skull.
When the skull is out of position, it places direct pressure on the brain and interferes with its ability to function, decreasing blood flow and blocking nerve transmission to and from the brain, and interfering with the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. This combination causes the brain to perform abnormally and can result in migraines or concussion symptoms.
“C.A.T.S. uses the same principles that chiropractors use for the spine, where the spine is out of place and it interferes with the nerve supply,” says Dr. Turner. “If the spine is out of place it adversely affects whatever is at the other end of the nerves that come out through the opening between the vertebrae.
“The same principle that applies to the spine applies to the skull; there are 22 bones in the skull, and they are all joined together like a puzzle. They are called sutures and they can get knocked out of place.”
Dr. Turner has a message for Sidney Crosby and other athletes who are experiencing concussion symptoms:
“Are concussion conditions incurable if the medical profession can’t do it? They’re just not doing the right things. They have never addressed the position of the bones in the spine and the skull. Every time you have a hit to the head, and every time you have a concussion, it weakens the attachment of the brain to the inside of the skull, so it makes you more susceptible to the symptoms of concussions the more you get.”
Since 2003 Dr. Turner has shared his knowledge about cranial adjusting with other medical practitioners. Today more than 900 chiropractors have been trained to administer C.A.T.S., which has grown to a three-level course. Chiropractors are practicing C.A.T.S. in locations around the world, including New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, Israel, Italy, Sweden, Germany, England, Ireland and Puerto Rico, as well as all over the U.S. and Canada.
Barrie Colts defenceman and Penguins draft pick Reid McNeill is one of Dr. Turner’s patients. A head injury forced him off the ice in 2011 and caused him to miss that year’s Pittsburgh rookie camp. His symptoms included headaches and poor concentration, blurred vision, brain fog and difficulty sleeping.
“I corrected his skull misalignments and he was back on the ice in four days and cleared for contact within two weeks,” says Dr. Turner.
Dr. Turner reports that McNeill told the Penguins training staff twice about C.A.T.S. and the cranial adjusting treatment he received to relieve his concussion symptoms, but unfortunately the information never made it to Crosby.
Should C.A.T.S. be implemented into the NHL and other professional sports?
“It would make a huge difference for these guys,” says Dr. Turner. “We would be able to prolong some of their careers, and we’d definitely be able to prevent the post-concussion syndrome that they’d continue to have for the rest of their lives.”
“A huge percentage of players in collision sports don’t report their symptoms; doctors and trainers on the sideline often don’t see them,” says Dr. Robert Cantu, who is a neurosurgeon at Boston University Medical School and a senior adviser to the NFL committee on head injuries.
This is particularly true in the NHL, where players experience an average of 60 head impacts per game. Figuring 15 – 18 skaters per game, that’s four head impacts per game for each player, according to assistant professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science Jason P. Milhalik, as well as Matthew A. Gfeller, co-director of Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Centre, both located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.