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October 31, 2005 - Flyers captain out indefinitely with concussion

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Flyers captain out indefinitely with concussion

CBS wire reports

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Flyers center Keith Primeau officially has another concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely.


The diagnosis was made Monday by team neurologist Gerri McGinnis at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Trainer Jim McCrossin said that Primeau's concussion has not been graded for severity but that he is also suffering whiplash symptoms.

Primeau took an elbow to the head from Alexander Perezhogin during last Tuesday's game in Montreal. The whiplash effect involves tightness in the neck muscles, the trainer said.

"The significance of that is twofold," McCrossin explained. "It's causing an irritation and can slow down your circulation. Second, the muscles in the neck go up into the head. If they are tight, they are pulling down on the head and causing a headache. We're trying to relieve that symptom."

The 33-year-old Primeau, who missed Sunday's 5-3 win in Ottawa, has experienced headaches.

"When he lies down, he feels like he is spinning, and he also said his eyes feel busy," McCrossin said. "He may be focusing, but his eyes are going back and forth and they get fatigued."

The Flyers' medical staff is treating Primeau's injury as a continuation from February 2004, when he suffered one diagnosed concussion and perhaps two more concussions that were not diagnosed.

"We're treating it as that," McCrossin said. " ... To say that this is his first concussion, I really couldn't say that because obviously, we had some earlier. Going back to the year 2004, if he had three then, this is his fourth or fifth. We have to do that way. We have to look at the symptoms. Each of the concussions Keith had, the symptoms were delayed (from the) onset."

McCrossin said there is no way to determine how much long-range damage Primeau may have suffered.

In a startling admission during an NHL conference call in August, Primeau said that he had still been experiencing post-concussion syndrome until May - a year after the 2004 playoffs when he was believed to have suffered two more concussions that went undetected because he was never tested.

"How many can he sustain?" McCrossin asked. "That goes to an individual basis and is beyond my scope. That is why we have experts in the field. That is why we are monitoring his symptoms daily. I wish I could answer that.

". .. That is where (team physician Gary) Dorshimer and Dr. McGinnis and all the doctors who evaluate Keith have to come up with a decision. Keith's health is our first priority. There is life after hockey."


Under new NHL guidelines, a report on Primeau was submitted to the league, which is monitoring concussions. Primeau underwent neuro-psychological baseline testing Monday and will be tested again in one week if his symptoms subside.


Loose pucks. Kim Johnsson will begin rehabilitation on his groin pull today. McCrossin said Johnsson was sore but could be back in the lineup by Thursday's home game against Washington.

It's not like Ottawa coach Bryan Murray to use the schedule as an excuse for losing, but that seemed to be his reaction after the loss to the Flyers.

"I wasn't very happy with the emotional state of our team to begin the game," he told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "No question about that.. .. It's a tough schedule when a team like the Flyers is able to sit in Ottawa, but that happens in our league. Both were big, emotional games. In Toronto (an 8-0 win the night before), we got ahead and just cut loose."

Back-to-back games are a staple in hockey. "I know what Bryan is saying because we felt the same way in the third period against Carolina," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. The Flyers lost, 8-6, Friday at Carolina after beating the Florida Panthers at home the night before.

The Flyers' power play finally ranks in the top 10 (ninth) in the league at 19.7 percent (18 for 81).