Wayne
Primeau

Wayne Primeau is one of the co-founders of stopconcussions.com, brother of Keith Primeau, and retired NHL veteran of 14 seasons.

I got involved with stopconcussions.com because of my brother’s early retirement. Concussions are serious injuries, and people need to understand their severity.

When I heard that Kerry and Keith were writing a book on concussions, I thought that I should share a story about my experiences with this injury.

Although I wasn’t forced to retire because of post-concussion syndrome, I have side effects to this day from the repeated blows that I took over the course of my career.

During the 2003–04 NHL season with the San Jose Sharks, I must have had my eyebrow and forehead region stitched eight times because of various pucks to the face and high- sticks. I also remember getting into a fight with Calgary’s Steve Montador, one in which he landed a punch so hard, it had me seeing stars. Also, during that year, I was cutting across the blue line when Raffi Torres caught me with a blind-side hit. Once again I was dazed without being knocked out. In all of these incidents, I shook the hit off and continued to play the rest of the game.

On all occasions, I felt fine afterward; it wasn’t until later in the season that I woke up and felt, unlike my true self. I remember the games feeling faster. My reaction time was slower and my balance was lacking. I felt tired all the time, and I became irritable—so much so that my newborn child’s crying bothered me.

With roughly 10 games left in the season, I told the team trainer that I needed some time off because I wasn’t feeling great. The trainer told me to rest for a week.

After the break, I felt much better. It was playoff time and we were getting ready to face the St. Louis Blues. Throughout the series, I was playing against Chris Pronger. During one specific forecheck, Pronger dazed me with a reverse shoulder hit. I had received similar hits several times throughout the season. It scares me to think about how much trauma my brain has experienced when I consider how easily I was dazed by Pronger’s hit and how susceptible I was to head contact.

In the end, we lost in the Conference Finals to Calgary. The following September, the NHL locked out the players for the entire 2004–05 season. The lockout was like a blessing in disguise; as much as I hated missing out on the season, it gave my head a chance to heal to the point that I felt I could handle another hit. 

The story is taken from Concussed written by Wayne Primeau

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StopConcussions is a non-profit company, that aims to bring players, parents, coaches and officials information on brain concussions and their consequences in contact sports.

This website is here to help educate and are not intended to replace medical care and/or professional supervision. There is no substitute for a competent neurologist, physician, health professional or clinician when it comes to diagnosing and managing concussions. What StopConcussions offers is an insight into the nature of a brain injury. It is a guide to help you understand the cause, effects and consequences of concussions as well as how you can help reduce the incidences of the injury, manage the injury better and be able to ask all the right questions when dealing with a concussed individual.

The brain is complex, and each injury is personalized. Not only is every brain different, so is every concussion, and the therapy must be tailored to each individual. With this said, only a physician or qualified healthcare professional who has been educated in concussions can recommend a treatment and rehabilitation program. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a specific injury, contact your physician immediately.

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