NEWARK, N.J. — Kings forward Simon Gagne, who missed more than five months because of lingering concussionsymptoms, said that NHL Players Assn. is working to enhance the education process regarding head injuries.For instance, a player suffering a concussion would be able to get in contact with others who have gone through the experience.”If a guy gets that type of injury, he’ll be able to reach a list of guys that went through it,” said Gagne after Kings’ practice Friday. “I was talking to bunch of guys this year that were asking me questions about it.
“For them, they had no clue: ‘How do you feel? How are you doing today?’ They ask me the type of symptoms I’m having and stuff like that.”
Players who had not suffered concussions were curious about what he was going through. Gagne has a concussion history, going back long before the one he suffered on Dec. 26. From that game, he did not play until Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Final.
“They see you skating, getting ready and they don’t understand why you aren’t back and playing,” Gagne said. “For them, if you’re skating, you should be playing if you look that good on the ice. At the same time, it’s not the way you look. It’s the way you feel.”
He went to an institute specializing in balance disorders and received chiropractic help.
“All that together helped me to be where I am today,” Gagne said. “Time was a big part of it. But having those treatments helped to recover a bit quicker. The doctors gave me the time to rest and to come back 100%.”
“I think the medicine is getting better, the doctors are getting better. More aware of that injury. I think you are going to see guys taking their time before coming back.”
He felt about 95% two months ago and the hardest part was waiting to reach 100%.
“You want to get back and play, but like I said, some guy is going to make the mistake to go at 95%,” Gagne said. “I think you need to be really honest with yourself. If you’re not honest, you are going to pay for it.”
The Stanley Cup Final is serious stuff, of course, but New Jersey Devils Coach Peter DeBoer found reason to laugh after his team practiced in preparation for Saturday’s Game 5 against the Kings.
Los Angeles Kings’ Simon Gagne talks about concussion symptoms
DeBoer was asked a rambling question about how difficult it was to maintain focus in the face of the team’s predicament of trailing the Kings, 3-1, in the series.
Smiling, DeBoer interrupted, saying: “I thought you were going to ask about the lady behind the bench,” he said of the porn star who became something of a distraction from her seat behind the visiting team’s bench at Staples Center. “You saw my 100% focus on the game. That’s discipline.”
His wife, he added, “saw the focus.”
Smart coach, smart husband.