Monday, December 19, 2011

NHL Brain Trust: Concussions May Be Caused by Skating Really Fast, Trying to Decapitate One Another

By Richard Kowalski (that's right jags, so don't yinz steal it)

Editor's Note: Alright jags, this post is the first by my cousin Richard. Hope yinz enjoy it. He ain't gonna go off like I do, but he'll hit yinz with the facts like James Harrison hits pussy quarterbacks.

TORONTO -- After exhaustive research, NHL officials came to the tentative conclusion Monday that concussions in hockey may be linked to the players' proclivity to skate at high speeds and mercilessly attempt to disembowel one another. 

Team executives began lobbying for more steps to be taken against concussions following last year's string of long-term injuries to high-profile players, including the Bruins' Marc Savard, the Blues' David Perron, and the Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

Despite these demands, along with the subsequent streak of concussions in the ongoing season, the NHL took only limited action until Arnie, the surly union worker who promptly sweeps the ice with a push broom during every commercial break, was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms in November.

"Sidney Crosby, Jeff Skinner, Claude Giroux -- with the rise of athlete-related services and parents projecting their failed dreams upon their children, we can replace these guys with an equally good player every couple of years," said Gary Bettman at a press conference Monday. "Arnie, though, that guy just hauls ass. The NHL can't afford to lose an asset as great as Arnie Szatkowski."

Szatkowski's well-being was put into the hands of UPMC Pittsburgh's Dr. Mickey Collins and John Maroon, who oversaw Sidney Crosby's return from and to injury, spanning from this year to last. Moreover, the league charged the doctors with the task of determining the root of the concussion epidemic.

"We reviewed all the footage from every documented concussion in the league this year," said Dr. Collins. "We tried to look for factors or events consistent in every instance of injury. At first, it seemed so simple: it had to be a chemical in the ice."

A series of changes to the ice creation process proved unsuccessful, with models tested in the American Hockey League including a surface of flavored gelatin, playing on water with motorized jet skis, and roller hockey. Due to potential costs, league officials discontinued the tests. Even if it were the cause of concussions, Bettman stated, "[they] are kind of just going to hope it's not and do something else."

"We needed a new folding chair in our offices above Playtime Bowl [in Toronto]," Bettman explained to Bob McKenzie of TSN. "That shit is pretty important."

Collins and Maroon moved on to a number of other isolated factors, such as nationality, what players ate for lunch, favorite ice cube shape, and whether their socks were individually toed. The research team met no success until Maroon proffered an unheralded theory.

"I was watching some film and it hit me," Maroon said. "I called [Dr. Collins] over and asked him, 'Hey, what if it has something to do with guys propelling themselves violently into one another's skull?'"

Initially, Collins was skeptical.

"I thought to myself, 'Really?!'" recounted Collins. "I mean, these guys are grown men. How could streaking down a low-friction surface and heaving their 200-pound bodies into each other's soft brain tissue be the problem?"

With corroborating player accounts and video support, research continues to take place under this premise.

Meanwhile, NFL officials have yet to discover any leads regarding the occurrence of concussions in football.

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