‘There’s a lot I’d give up just to feel nor­mal’

For­mer St. John’s Ice­cap Con­nor Crisp de­tails the rough ride he’s had with con­cus­sion is­sues that ended his ca­reer

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - SPORTS -

In these days of tweets, blurbs and Face­book posts, it seems dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to ded­i­cate 15 min­utes of their at­ten­tion on a sin­gle fo­cus.

But you would do your­self a favour — es­pe­cially if you are an ath­lete or the par­ent of an ath­lete — to watch a 14-minute, 27-sec­ond on­line doc­u­men­tary about for­mer St. John’s Ice­caps for­ward Con­nor Crisp pro­duced by Ra­dio-canada, the French­language arm of the CBC.

The 24-year-old Crisp, a thir­dround draft of the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens in 2014, played 17 games for the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s Ice­caps over two sea­sons (2015-16, 2016-17), both of which him saw him plagued by con­cus­sion symp­toms that side­lined him for long stretches.

Crisp, who has now re­tired from hockey, says he suf­fered about seven or eight con­cus­sions in his ca­reer, in­clud­ing one early in his time with the Ice­caps.

It came in a 2015 fight against

Derek Mathers of the Le­high Val­ley Phan­toms, and al­though Crisp claims it’s the only con­cus­sion he suf­fered while fight­ing, it was the one he be­lieves trig­gered the health prob­lems that even­tu­ally ended his

hockey ca­reer.

After his 17 games with St. John’s, the 6-3, 220-pound Crisp ap­peared in 87 ECHL con­tests be­fore re­tir­ing last year.

There is a lot of un­der­ly­ing emo­tion in the piece, and won­der­ful hon­esty from Crisp, who says he loved to fight, say­ing an on-ice scrap felt bet­ter than scor­ing a goal; that he was never forced to fight, that he did so by his own choice; and that he still feels fight­ing could have a role in the game.

Still, the th­e­sis of the doc­u­men­tary prob­a­bly comes down to one quote from Crisp, who now lives in his home­town of Al­lis­ton, Ont., where he runs a hockey school while still deal­ing with the lin­ger­ing ef­fects of the con­cus­sions, in­clud­ing mi­graine headaches.

“I don’t have a Stan­ley Cup to give up, I don’t have mil­lions of dol­lars to give up, but yeah, there’s a lot I’d give up just to feel nor­mal,” he said.

Crisp’s story may or may not change your opin­ion about fight­ing in hockey, but it will cer­tainly make you think.

Watch the doc­u­men­tary on the Ra­dio Canada on­line pro­gram, Podium: https://ici.ra­dio­canada.ca/sports/podium/70/ podium-con­nor-crisp-hock­ey­commo­tions-cere­brales-oma­lu­cana­dien-etc-cte.

All the speak­ing is English, with French sub-texts.

ST. JOHN’S ICE­CAPS FILE PHOTO/COLIN PED­DLE

Con­nor Crisp played just 17 games for the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s St. John’s Ice­caps over two sea­sons which were plagued by con­cus­sion symp­toms that side­lined him for long stretches.

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