FLAT EARTH SOCIETY
HBO delves into concussion debate looking for answers and next steps
PAUL MONTADOR LEFT A lasting impression on Jordan Kronick with only four words. When asked about the NHL’s denial of the link between concussions and CTE in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports, Montador simply said, “The earth is flat.”
Some may have expected more than the sardonic response from Montador, the father of deceased former NHL defenseman Steve Montador, given his 35-year-old son was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease following his shocking death in February 2015. But the answer’s simplicity and underlying message stuck with Kronick. “It’s 2018, we’ve seen this movie before play out for 10 years with the NFL, and I think what Paul is sort of getting at is, ‘Come on,’ ” said Kronick, a senior segment producer for Real Sports. “We delve a bit further with (him) on this subject and he likens it to science denying and climate-change denying.”
In “On Thin Ice,” Real Sports dives into the connection between concussions and CTE, examining the effects on all players and possible next steps for the sport.
While Montador speaks of the impact concussions had on his son, Hall of Famer Eric Lindros advocates for further funding to research diagnosis and treatment and Dr. Blaine Hoshizaki outlines how players sustain potentially permanent braintissue injuries in each game. But the latest book offering from Montreal Canadiens legend Ken Dryden (Game Change), an exploration of Montador’s death and how the sport of hockey has evolved, provides the most food for thought.
The belief of Dryden, a former executive with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the vastly changing landscape of the game requires the NHL to adjust, particularly as the ever-increasing speed stands to turn formerly innocuous bumps into concussive collisions. “Because the game evolves, the rules need to evolve,” said Kronick of Dryden’s view. “And he says we’ve hit a point where the game is so fast that the rules need to now match the game and be changed.” – JARED CLINTON