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November 23, 2005 - Retirement isn't an option for Primeau

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Retirement isn't an option for Primeau


PHILADELPHIA - Keith Primeau has heard the whispers. There isn't a hockey player who has suffered a series of concussions that hasn't.

The scuttlebutt suggests that the Flyers captain, who has been sidelined since Oct. 30 by his latest head injury, is falling into a cycle that has befallen a number of players.

While there's no scientific evidence to indicate a player can become "concussion-prone," hockey people have their own theories.

Primeau says he can't allow himself to think that way. In other words, retirement is not an option.

"I try not to let myself get into that mindset because there's still so many things to accomplish, and I'm not ready to not be playing," Primeau said Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center. "I understand exactly what I'm dealing with. I just can't let myself think that way."

Primeau missed 21 games after suffering his previous concussion on Feb. 12, 2004. While he did put together the best postseason performance of his career, Primeau said he didn't feel completely symptom-free until this past July.

These days he's having larger blocks of symptom-free time, but Tuesday night he said he wasn't feeling all that great.

"There's no real consistency," he said. "I'm at the point of complete and utter frustration. Discouraged. All those emotions to the negative. I just don't know what to do. I'm at the point where - you know what, [because] it feels like it's not going to go away, I'll just go through and play with it.

"That's how frustrating it is. The other thing is, if it's a knee or a shoulder, anything, I can look at it, rehab it and work toward an end. This situation, I'm in a holding pattern, and there's nothing more frustrating than that."

Having been through it before, Primeau knows there should come a day when he wakes up completely symptom-free. But no one can put a timetable on it.

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"It (going through it in 2004) did help for the first few weeks because I know it takes time," Primeau said. "But when you wake up every morning and it's the same thing ... the monotony of it is frustrating."

The situation has also taken its toll on Primeau's family (wife, Lisa; daughter, Kylie; sons Chayse, Corey, Cayden).

"They know I'm hurt, and I'm not playing because I'm hurt," he said. "They understand it's not a visible injury. They're as discouraged as I am because they enjoy coming to the game and watching. But they've been great. They've helped me get through this."