Sidney Crosby and Ben Johnson, the same old story…

Wow!  I was blown away listening to the CBC report that Sydney Crosby is still working on returning to hockey.  O’k maybe the biggest shock was the interview with his neurosurgeon who is completely supporting Crosby going back to the game…which it is!  It’s a GAME!

CONCUSSION:  ” med. a violent injury to the brain caused by shaking or jarring,..” Oxford Dictionary. How many concussions has Crosby had in his hockey career?  Probably a half-dozen diagnosed, and then a few more that went un-detected.  Who is fooling who?  When a sport (and I get that it is his profession), compromises your immediate and long -term health, what part of the brain turns off to allow you to tell yourself that it’s o’k to continue?  If he suffered a broken leg every season, he probably would find a new profession.  For some reason,  many take our brains for granted, yet it is the most important aspect of our make-up…if our brains don’t function well, we don’t function well.

When I was a member of the Canadian Track Team as a junior, I was at many of the same meets as Ben Johnson.  Johnson was always in the top 3, but never the winner.  One spring he came back from training and the track world saw a different person.  It was widely suspected that he was juiced.  He also starting winning and setting records.

A friend of mine,  was a middle distance runner, and on the team with me.  She found herself in the same place as Johnson.  She wanted to win at any cost.  She left Kingston to train with Charlie Francis and Ben Johnson, while I went on to university.    She never reached the top 3 in the country, but for years she participated in steroid use.  One year after we went separate ways, I came across her.  She was once a beautiful, leggy athlete…she turned into a course, awkward version of herself…she didn’t look or sound right…a bit freaky, really (but drugs do that to you)

Eventually Johnson was stripped of his gold medal and my friend faded away.  Their bodies abused and their minds altered.

Sydney Crosby seems to be affected by the same desire to push himself regardless of known health problems….in this case,  associated with frequent concussions:

headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental health concerns, anger, depression, sleep disorders, mood swings, early onset dementia….

What does it take for someone to take a step back and assess their life in totality?    I am baffled as to what makes playing hockey so alluring when day in, day out Sidney Crosby is experiencing problems associated with brain trauma.  Sometimes I think it is simply the fact that he doesn’t know anything else.  He doesn’t have a Plan B.  Admittedly, he doesn’t need one at least in terms of financial security.  If he could step away from his perceived sense of self, he might see that there are many ways to contribute to the world that don’t include adulation, stardom, and truck loads of  money.  What happens to people like Sidney Crosby and Ben Johnson when you strip away the labels?  Heck, lets throw Tiger Woods in there too!  They show themselves for who they are… Human.  Mere mortals like the rest of us.

That seems to be their biggest challenge and greatest fear.





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