Former Flyers captain Keith Primeau suffered his fair share of concussions throughout his career, including a number of undiagnosed concussions that he admits he returned from too early. As such, he understands the challenges of recovering from concussions, headaches, migraines and a massive disruption to one’s normal daily life. Primeau joined Snow The Goalie this week, providing his insight and experience returning to play following concussions in order to shed some light on what Flyers center Nolan Patrick could be going through, as well as what options the young forward might have to consider, including retirement:

Snow The Goalie: The Flyers have a young center who has been, we’re told, has a migraine disorder, but has had concussions in the past and for fans, and I think even for media alike, we haven’t experienced it, so I don’t know if we have a way to discern the difference between migraines just existing on their own and maybe something being a result of a concussion and there being fallout. Is there a way to know?

Primeau: Right, so a couple answers to the question. For the longest time, the injury was subjectively diagnosed. It’s important that we follow the science and that we have objective tracking tools that tell us, “hey if this is off, this is off, or this is off and/or this is off, the best decision for your health is not to play.” In the instance of Nolan Patrick, who I don’t know his case history or pretend to be a doctor, when people would ask me, the first thing I would say is if you don’t feel right, you’re probably not right. And the reality is for somebody who is, even if it’s chronic migraine, if that’s an issue then you have to contemplate what is the long term perspective for you and playing the game. If it’s actually that severe and that chronic, then the reality is that in all likelihood he probably needs to not play and he probably needs to retire and go away from the game and try and enjoy and live his life, as opposed to chasing after something because you’re not 100% sure what the underlying issue is. If it is concussion, then you continue to do what you are doing and hope that you recover. At some point you have to be realistic about what your end game is, what you’re trying to accomplish and make a decision based on that.

Nolan Patrick’s name has been floated in potential trade rumors, including in a move for Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, but the idea of retirement is new territory. Primeau isn’t just some shmuck throwing a hot take out for attention. He’s had to go through his own personal hell on the road to recovery following multiple blows to his head throughout his career. As shocking as it would be to see a young player retire after just two seasons in the NHL, perhaps Primeau is right. It’s also possible that he’s giving advice that he thinks could be best for the young center’s life, which should take precedence over his hockey career. There’s been no word from the organization that the migraine disorder Patrick was diagnosed with is directly related to concussions he’s suffered, though Primeau made it sound like drawing that connection could give Patrick a better chance of resuming his career, rather than living without a true cause of the disorder.

It’s worth noting that Nolan Patrick took the ice on Thursday for an informal scrimmage organized by former Flyer Ryan White, though it was a far cry from the physicality and speed of an NHL game. Perhaps Patrick taking the ice at all is a sign the young man is making meaningful progress as he hopes to get his life back to some semblance of his pre-diagnosis normal life.

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