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December 6, 2005 - Primeau proactive in rehab

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Primeau proactive in rehab

Bucks County Courier Times

In a spin off the old expression, "doctor, heal thyself,'' Keith Primeau is trying a new line, "player, heal thyself.''

Rather than just sit and rest while waiting for concussion-related symptoms to subside, the Flyers captain has become proactive in his rehabilitation process.

Working with doctors at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Primeau has been zeroing in on a balance problem that seems to be at the root of his troubles.

Monday, after another increasingly lengthy and demanding workout, Primeau said he continues to feel better. After five weeks, he's showing some real, lasting signs of improvement, and he gives some of the credit to the UNC program.

"It's visual, it's sensory perception," Primeau explained. "The movement that bothers me is extreme side-to-side. The exercises are slide board, passing the puck one way and looking the other, looking over my shoulder and really challenging my vision."

Going proactive with this is a change of tactics for the veteran player.

"I'm trying to strengthen the muscles behind my eyes," he said. Primeau added that he's encouraged by new advances in science that can pinpoint the severity and what type of concussion he has.

"From there you can begin some form of physical therapy, which in the past was non-existent," he said. "It goes hand-in-hand with rest."

Primeau, sidelined since Oct. 30, said he's felt a lot better the past few days. However, he's had other "false starts'' and wants to make sure he's symptom-free before he goes back in for neuro-psychological testing.

Primeau said he left the meetings in North Carolina with a renewed sense of optimism.

"I'm a lot closer today than I was a week or two ago," Primeau said.

Head trainer Jim McCrossin has Primeau ride a stationary bike to raise his heart rate in what amounts to a stress test. If he can handle that sort of demand, it would indicate he's on the road to recovery.