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Crosby ordeal proves we still have much to learn about concussions

Pittsburgh Penguins centereSidney Crosby. James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE

James Guillory/US PRESSWIRE

The concussion debate is never far from the surface and it is raging again now that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is on the sidelines again following a hit to the head that seemed innocuous at the time.

One thing everyone can agree on, from sensible fans to players to coaches to general managers and the medical professionals, is that there is still much to be learned about concussions. The field is such that one expert, Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, said Tuesday the only treatment scientifically proven for concussions is rest.

"In terms of anything to accelerate recovery, we have zero [treatment]" Tator said.

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However, thanks to doctors like Tator, who founded ThinkFirst Canada, one of the leading sources for information on brain and spinal-cord injuries, and Dr. Paul Echlin of London, Ont., a sports-medicine specialist who also studies concussions, more information becomes available to the public by the month.

Echlin established the Sport Concussion Library, which launched a web site last week, www.sportconcussionlibrary.com. It serves as a free information resource for players, trainers, parents, teams, educational institutions or anyone else who wants to know more about concussions.

ThinkFirst Canada made a 25-minute video, Smart Hockey, which shows how concussions happen, their effects and what can be done to reduce the chance of suffering one while playing hockey. Several well-known hockey players like Tessa Bonhomme and Patrice Bergeron, who dealt with a severe concussion and returned to play for the Boston Bruins, appear on the video, which can be found here (http://www.thinkfirst.ca/programs/hockey.aspx).

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