Skip to main content

Ottawa Senators' right wing Daniel Alfredsson (11) steps on the ice against the New York Rangers during the first period of game six of first round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Monday, April 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Daniel Alfredsson's angry outburst in the Ottawa Senators' Game 6 battle with the New York Rangers Monday left at least a few observers wondering: was he still feeling the effects of a concussion?

The normally genial Swede had been out for the three previous games with a head injury and some thought the uncharacteristic flare-up might be a sign that he had returned to play too early.

Alfredsson himself dismissed that suggestion when asked by reporters.

Story continues below advertisement

But Dr. Philippe Souvestre, a Vancouver sports medicine specialist, says such outbursts are a "warning sign" that a concussion has lingered and a player could be putting himself at risk by hitting the ice before healing fully.

"In my clinical experience, people suffering from a concussion often exhibit various forms of loss of cognitive control, including outbursts of anger, anxiety and even depression," he said.

It's possible for a person to compensate enough that there are no obvious signs of a concussion, then become inexplicably upset, he said, adding that typical emotional signs of a concussion include restlessness or panic attacks.

Concussion expert Dr. James Kissick, however, says it's unusual for someone to have a concussion and show only anger without exhibiting other symptoms, like dizziness or a headache.

"While we see emotional symptoms in concussions – depression, nervousness, anxiety, irritability – it would be hard to attribute [Alfredsson's outburst]to that, especially given all the other stuff going on in Game 6," he said.

Alfredsson, after all, had been benched earlier in the game during a power play and, just before he snapped, took a hit from Rangers forward John Mitchell. Not to mention the stress of the game itself, in which the Senators failed to finish off their top seeded opponents.

Dr. Kissick also cautioned that it is difficult to assess someone without knowing all the factors. Alfredsson would also have been put through a regimen with his team to ensure he was feeling better before he came back to play, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Alfredsson and his teammates, for their part, suggested he got mad simply because, right after getting past a concussion, he had allowed Mitchell to hit him.

"I had pretty good control of everything until I got hit and then I just lost it. I can't explain it in any other way," he said.

After the hit, he skated to the bench and slammed his stick on the boards. Later, he stomped on water bottles and had sharp words with his coach.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.