Head shots where you least expect them

Kevin Adshade
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Efforts to limit head injuries in hockey are obviously laudable – players who blatantly dish out head shots to opponents, accidental or otherwise, need to be punished: it's no longer acceptable for a player to give a flagrant shot to the head of an opponent and then suffer a meagre two minutes in the penalty box.

What I worry about is parents who are hesitant to enter their kids in minor hockey because they fear terrible injury – I can only say that odds of a nine-year-old getting a concussion in hockey are very long.

It's seeping over to other sports: it is said that in the U.S. minor football numbers are down because of the fear of major injury, perhaps understandable because compared to hockey, football is a game of brutal collisions at high speeds. So is hockey of course, but hockey players take greater effort to protect themselves because they have to, whereas football players are playing with flat-out reckless abandon – there's not much control in their aggression because that's the way football is. Armed with pressure from the public, the fans and, most importantly to the NFL, the courts, the NFL has in recent years taken steps to limit head injuries, through stiffer rules, stiffer penalties and the banning of helmet-to-helmet hits, which should have happened years ago. The NFL wants little kids playing Pop Warner football; it helps feed the machine that is the NFL, but they needn't worry: there'll never be a shortage of players willing to put their health on the line for the money, the fame, and the game.

Know who I worry about getting injured because of sports?

Soccer dads.

That's right, soccer dads. Soccer moms I don't worry about because they can pay attention to the game and do other things too, because as we all know, women are terrific multi-taskers. But picture a soccer dad, after a long, tiring day at work, sitting in a fold-up lawn chair at the local soccer pitch, watching the kiddies kick the ball around. It's a warm summer evening and dad starts to doze off, quite likely because he's watching soccer. So he ends having a well-deserved nap, shifts to one side of the chair and tips it over, whacking his head on a rock. I bet the numbers of such incidents are staggering, an epidemic for sure.

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Non-Sports Thought of the Week: It didn't take long for the newly elected provincial Liberals to start creating jobs for the people of Pictou County: they gave one to Glennie Langille, the just-defeated Liberal candidate in Pictou West, who is now Nova Scotia's Chief Protocol Officer (man, do I ever I want a government job). 

Tory leader Jamie Baillie jumped all over it, muttering something like it being the same old style of government, or something similar, perhaps forgetting for a moment that the Tories have shown themselves to be quite adept at cronyism themselves over the years. Also critical of the move was interim NDP leader... what is her name? Margo? Maggie? Meg Griffin? – I can't remember her name but whatever she said was probably as irrelevant as the NDP party these days.

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Music Trivia: Tomorrow, Dec. 8, is an important date in the history of rock. It is the 33rd anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon; and Doors' legend Jim Morrison was born Dec. 8, 1943, which would have made him 70 years old tomorrow, had he gotten out alive. 

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Sometimes, a baseball team gets getter through subtraction rather than addition. That's what the Toronto Blue Jays did this week when they said good-bye to catcher J.P Arencibia, who struck out 148 times last season, in 497 plate appearances (even Canadian schoolchildren can do the math on that and conclude the numbers are staggeringly bad). Worse than that, though, is that Arencibia is a horrible defensive catcher. If you're a big league baseball team and you're catcher is a defensive liability, you need another one.  A solid defensive catcher is not a luxury, it's a necessity.


Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.

Organizations: NFL, Toronto Blue Jays

Geographic location: U.S., Pictou County, Pictou West Nova Scotia

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