Pat Brisson, Sidney Crosby’s Agent, Discusses Client’s Progress, Remarks About Head Hits in NHL

September 12, 2011 – 7:00 am by Steven Cuce

There is some good news for hockey fans in the Steel City. It seems as though Sidney Crosby is progressing well and he is more likely to play this upcoming NHL season. Crosby has not considered retirement stemming from his concussion last season although he was suffering from symptoms a few months ago where he couldn’t drive or watch television because it was too difficult to concentrate. Sid has joined the petition of pushing zero tolerance against hits to the head. In a sport like hockey, that’s hard to implement because of the inevitability of the occasional hit, but nevertheless worth exploring and having a serious conversation about.

Pat Brisson, Sidney Crosby’s agent, told 590 The Fan in Toronto that his client felt very strongly regarding his voice against hits to the head in the NHL. He feels Crosby has a strong voice. Brisson also contests that the players must be the group that makes the push to abolish head hits in hockey because Donald Fehr won’t be the one pushing it without support.

Pat Brisson joined 590 The Fan in Toronto with Bob McCown and Damien Cox to discuss Sidney Crosby speaking for the first time since his injury last week about head shots in hockey, Sidney Crosby having serious symptoms stemming from the concussion he sustained last season, Crosby’s declaration against head injuries, whether he thinks Crosby’s outspoken words will have any impact on the NHL and Don Fehr and the NHL Players Association stepping up and taking a stance against head shots.

It was a big moment for your client, Sidney Crosby, when he spoke last week for the first time:

“It was a big day. Sidney hasn’t spoken since April. He’s gone through a lot, but it was also a good day. It’s been a good two or three weeks with Sidney. He has the ability now to be balanced and to be normal again. It’s been a good two or three weeks for Sid. Having both doctors there especially Dr. Ted Carrick, who is a specialist we saw. This guy is a star. He’s been able to work with him for a full week giving him a lot of different things to do and he’s progressed extremely well. It was good news.”

It seemed very evident that Sidney had some serious symptoms stemming from his concussions:

“Yeah it was very serious. The symptoms he had were headaches and all that. It was one issue, but he had issues with his balance on the ice and off the ice or waking up in the morning. A lot of fogginess and things like that. Those are the major issues on a day-to-day basis. I mean it is hard to deal with. He started progressing a lot at one point and then he kind of hit a little bit of a wall. He started the workout program and it was pretty hard in May and June. At one point he wasn’t progressing as much as he wanted to. To make a long story short like I said the last month or the last few weeks have been very encouraging.”

Before this press conference did you speak with Sidney Crosby about what he was going to say at the press conference? Did Sid tell you he wanted to speak about head injuries in hockey or was that off-the-cuff?

“He’s been thinking about it for awhile. It’s been a topic now. People have been talking about it for months and it has been something he has shared with me about his feelings about it and I wasn’t surprised when the question was asked. He answered from the heart and how he thinks it should be done in the future. Within a month or so after the incident I remember talking to him about high sticks and being penalized or not. His view, which I agree with him, it should be zero tolerance. Since he has been a victim of that too I’m sure it has been a lot with what he has to go through. He understands the consequences of a major concussions and the other thing too, which was interesting too, is the talk about the base line pass. Sidney said ‘when I did those before I paid attention, but not that much. Not as much as I will in the future. I would recommend to anyone to really pay attention to those.” It gives you a really good perspective on where the base line is compared to where you stand and it helps in the event that you unfortunately get hurt.”

Do you think Sidney Crosby’s declaration against head injuries and concussions will have impact?

“Sidney has a very powerful voice. He is respected. I’ve heard some players today commenting on his comments and quotes from yesterday and it was all positive towards what he said. There’s no doubt in my mind it has a lot of weight. It bares a lot of weight. The league has got to look at it. We want a faster game. We want a better game. It is a better game now. It’s safe to watch the game, but it’s still also more dangerous when you hit someone in the head because players are faster and stronger and going in full force. The one stat that Sidney brought up yesterday there’s over 50,000 hits per year and apparently there is 75-100 hits to the head. If we somewhat monitor them are we going to real change the game all that much? We can probably save a few players headaches or a concussion. I think there are ways to eliminate it as much as possible. Concussions are always going to be there because it is a physical game.”

Would you like to see Don Fehr and the players union come out with strong statement about head shots in hockey?

“I don’t think it should come from Don Fehr himself. If the players themselves want to say something then they should discuss the topic and eventually it should come from Don, but the players have to discuss that more on the committee. The players themselves have to be more open minded. They gotta be open and willing to make changes. In our culture of hockey players we don’t want to embrace changes too quick. We like to keep things they way they are in general and that is just the culture of an athlete. The players play with cuts. They play hurt. I think now there are lots of good voices being heard encouraging players. At the end of the day they are the ones playing the game. They are the ones that are going to make this decision. If they push in that direction then of course on behalf of the PA and Don Fehr they will bring it up. Essentially the owners and the general managers will want to make these changes. It starts with the way the players want to play the game no doubt.”

Listen to Pat Brisson on 590 The Fan in Toronto here

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