Jonathan Toews' Concussion: Ball Dropped by Captain and the Chicago Blackhawks

Posted 03/10/2012 - 10:13 by HockeyPolls

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated with his team for the first time since being removed from the lineup on February 19th. Afterward, everyone received confirmation of what had been speculated on for several weeks.

Toews was, in fact, suffering from concussion symptoms. It also appears that this injury was mishandled, though much of the blame can be cast upon Toews himself.

Toews as reported by Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times:

"It's up to me to be honest with myself and be smart about it," Toews said. You learn to play through so many things, but this might be the one thing that might not be an intelligent thing to do."

It's easy to forget that Toews is sill a 23-year-old young man who still has a thing or two to learn about life. However, the argument is to be made that to hide symptoms in the face of known dangers of doing so puts a large measure of responsibility on the player in this case.

We still have no confirmation of when Toews first started suffering concussion-like symptoms. The only thing we now know for sure is that Toews felt badly enough following February 19th's game in St. Louis to be removed from action.

Hints began emerging sometime during Chicago's lengthy road trip earlier that month. Was the damage done in San Jose and exacerbated as the trip wore on? We can only speculate. We only know that the team knew about the symptoms following the 3-1 win over the Blues.

It's at this point that the team begins to share in the blame.

The organization was fully aware of a problem with Toews on the 19th, if not before. At the time, they had at least one player suffering from a similar malady. Toews was not deemed fit for any on or off-ice work load.

I am still awaiting explanation as to why the cornerstone of the franchise was allowed to be driving an automobile while in such a condition. Armed with some facts, I can confidently say the Toews should not have been behind the wheel of his Mercedes, alone or with anyone else, on the morning of February 23rd.

Toews is quick to point out that the lingering effects of the concussion symptoms were not made any worse following his one-car crash into a elevated train support beam. Even if this is being reported by Dr. Toews, it's difficult to completely know for sure given the uncertainty of head trauma.

Going back to Jahns' story:

Toews said his one-car crash on Feb. 23 where he struck a steel support beam for an elevated CTA track when driving to the United Center had no impact on his status.

"Not at all," Toews said. "A lot of people kind of want to tie that in there with this injury. But I guess as they say, 'When it rains, it pours.' It was kind of a rough week, when you throw that in there with it. It wasn't too much fun."

Let's take him at his word, for the sake of argument, that the impact hard enough to deploy the airbag had no lasting effect. The part of the story that bothers me is that he was allowed to drive unsupervised four days after being removed from the lineup with a debilitating head injury.

We know enough about Toews to speculate that he made this decision on his own. It wouldn't surprise me that a headstrong kid thought he was alright to drive. Of course, there is no such word coming from the team at this point that suggests anything or that sort.

Toews was on the ice for the second straight day after skating before practice on Thursday. Signs are indicating a return date is approaching. Given Toews' history, it would not surprise me if the Blackhawks erred on the side of caution regarding a return to action.

Then again, with Chicago's track record on handling concussions, including this one, it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't.

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