The NHLPA presented Ontario’s Western University with a cheque for $500,000 as a “challenge gift” in the school’s efforts to raise more than $3 million for concussion research.
The donation came at Western’s ‘See The Line’ event, which is the school’s, “annual day-long event focused on concussion research and awareness.” Presented to the London, Ont.-based school, the hope is that Canadians will be inspired to donate their own money to help raise an additional $2.65 million over the next year to help support research into concussion prevention and recovery being done by the university.
“Enhancing the ability to diagnose and treat concussions would obviously be important achievements, and we hope that this contribution goes a long way to further research in this area,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said in a release by the university. “We are pleased to provide support to Western in this critical area.”
From a medical standpoint, there may be no more important venture for the NHL to undertake than finding out what causes concussions and how to protect the players from suffering debilitating head injuries. Over the past several seasons, star players such as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Daniel Sedin have missed playing time due to concussions. One former player who knows all too well about the effects of concussions, Eric Lindros, was on hand to help present the NHLPA’s gift.
“Whether it’s your child, sibling or parent – head injury is an important topic,” said Lindros, See the Line’s honorary chair. “Although predominant in sport and recreational activity, concussions are a common injury suffered also in less expected environments such as transport, including cycling or motor vehicle collision…With the help of the NHLPA and the challenge they’ve set forward to people everywhere, my hope is that this research will one day lead to full recoveries for everyone living with a concussion.”
According to Western, concussions may be, “associated with long-term conditions such as depression, early-onset dementia and even Alzheimer’s.” More than 160,000 Canadians per year experience a concussion and more than half, says Western, are related to sports.
“We are grateful to the NHLPA for their leadership commitment which is providing the catalyst to engage a broader team of supporters to drive concussion therapies beyond clinical trials and into clinical applications,” said Dr. Michael Strong, the Dean of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
Joining Lindros at the See The Line event from the hockey world were Sportsnet broadcaster and former NHLer Nick Kypreos and former ECHL player Dean Stock, who was recently diagnosed with ALS and is the brother of former NHLer P.J. Stock. Also in attendance were CFL football players Brian Bulcke and Andy Fantuz and Canadian national soccer player Jessie Fleming.