NHL.com released a report midday on Tuesday that Flyers chief, Chris Pronger, will be returning to the team's training facility in Vorhees, NJ, for further testing --
Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger, who missed most of last season because of post-concussion syndrome, will reportedly visit the team's training facility in Voorhees, N.J., next week for some testing.
Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the 37-year-old defenseman would not take the ice, however. According to Holmgren, Pronger, who hasn't played since last November, is still experiencing headaches.
Alright, so, if he's not going to take to the ice and he's still experiencing headaches, what sort of "testing" should we be expecting? And does (or should I say "should") this give us hope that the 6'6" future Hockey Hall of Famer will return to the blue line for the Broad Street Bullies?
I don't want anyone to start jumping to conclusions and look too deeply into this news. Whether if he'll ever be ready to return to the ice or not, Chris still needs to make his visits to the neurologists and other brain-injury specialists. Not just as a NHL player, but for his own self health.
Before letting myself get too carried away in thought, I decided to call my cousin Dr. Joseph Moeller, DO, who is a board certified neurologist right here in the Philadelphia area (link).
Joey told me that Pronger will more than likely be taking cognitive tests, which are assessments of his cognitive capabilities. The word "cognition" describes the actions each of our brains perform on a day-to-day basis. Without cognition, we'd just be inorganic piles of dense, primordial crap.
......much like Michael Moore
Chris Pronger's brain is like land; it must be charted and mapped out. These cognitive tests aim to gauge specific aspects of Chris' cerebral animations, also known as "domains". Three types of domains complete one's entire cognitive functioning; attention, memory and executive function.
So, Prongs will more than likely be taking these tests on a computer, much like the ImPACT Test that Claude Giroux took earlier last season after suffering his concussion.
According to CogState clinical trials --
Computerized testing offers accurate recording of reaction times, electronic capture and processing of data (minimizing human error) and standardization of test administration and automatic scoring (minimizing sources of response bias).
To be quite honest, I'd rather Chris Pronger stay away from professional hockey for the rest of his life. I don't want him to retire, given the 35-Plus Rule is still a part of this League's collective bargaining agreement, but he should ride the LTIR for the remainder of his contract. Not because I don't like the guy as a hockey player and leader -- in those aspects, I love everything about him.
But because he's a husband and a father.
This is no longer a question of if he's able to play a professional sport at the age of 37. It's become a question of whether he'll ever be the same person again. Brain damage is irreversible, and if Pronger somehow squeaks out of this mess with a full recovery, it's not worth putting that new-found health at risk once more.
It's easy for me to say that, though. Chris Pronger is a warrior. A champion. You can't just end that like you're blowing out a candle. That primal, combative attitude of his will burn like the sun until the day they lay him in the ground. If there's one beast that could make it through the testing, get back out on the ice and return to the game of professional ice hockey, it's our Philadelphia Flyers captain.