Concussions forced NHL star Keith Primeau to retire from the game before he wanted to, and now the former forward is devoting his time to spread awareness about head injuries in sport.
“The most important thing we can do for our kids is educate ourselves,” Primeau, who co-founded StopConcussions.com, told Joey Vandetta on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday.
Start with the children and watch a trickle effect towards improved concussion awareness in the NHL, Primeau figures.
“The most important thing was changing the mindset of the kids at the grassroots level. And where does that start? It starts with our parents, our coaches, our administrators, our officials. Anybody that touches the game for us, it’s important they understand how we can better protect our kids.”
Now a coach of the EHL’s Philadelphia Revolution, Primeau suffered four documented concussions in his playing days. The knock he took as a Flyer in October 2005 ended his season and pushed him to retire the following September.
Primeau said it took seven years until he felt 100 per cent healthy, then he endured a setback when he banged his head on a dressing-room doorjamb.
Despite his 18-year-old son suffering two documented concussions as well, Primeau does not believe the hockey rink is unsafe. But if a head gets slammed, time must be made to take the appropriate tests and let the brain recover.
“I don’t have any fear of him being re-injured. And if it does happen again, we’ll handle it with the same protocol,” Primeau said.
“Let kids be kids. Let them go out there and have fun.”