Posts for chris

Chris Pronger Put a Face on the Issue of Concussions Today

Kyle Scott - March 7, 2013


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Chris Pronger just put a face on the issue of concussions in professional sports.

For quite a few years now, the head injury has been a hot topic in sports, especially in football and hockey, where contact is encouraged and necessary. 

No recap or grouping of quotes will adequately summarize the struggles Pronger detailed today, and I'd highly recommend that you watch all three parts of his near 40-minute press conference (after the jump). But in a nutshell, the lingering effects of a stick to the eye and a concussion are as follows:

Pronger doesn't see well. His direct vision went from that of a 30-year-old to that of a 60-year-old. He keeps upping the prescription strength of his glasses, which he now wears. It's unfortunate, and though it's not a reversible problem, it's a symptom that can be managed and is the least of his worries, he explained.  

Peripheral vision presents a greater challenge.

Pronger has trouble seeing to his left and right. A sixth sense, as he described it, that was always available to him – heightened, even – is no longer there. He isn't as aware of his surroundings as he used to be… can't feel his kids coming around corners… couldn't detect an oncoming hit from an opposing player if he had to. At least one of his eyes has trouble going out, to see off to the side. This might get better over time, or it might not.

He gets headaches. Lots of them. Sometimes from trying to use his peripheral vision, sometimes from focusing, and sometimes from lights and noises and kids and, you know, living.

Though not as frequent and persistent as it once was, Pronger still suffers when he's around commotion. His brain, it would seem, struggles to process multiple inputs. Sort of like an old computer– sure, the browser works just fine, but try loading up Word, iTunes and Photoshop, then see what happens. That's Pronger. He needs more JAM RAM. Even focusing on a hockey game, on TV, bothers him after a while. He falls asleep earlier than he used to. He can't run– it gives him headaches. He can workout a bit – lift and ride the stationary bike – but when his heart rate gets too high, he gets headaches. He said he can't do anything that requires him to "move fast."

He can drive (when he wears his glasses), it's something he's been doing a lot of. He picks his kids up from school, takes them to hockey practice and other places, and then goes back home, just like my mom did for me before I got my license. 

That's an improvement from where Pronger was six months ago, though.

He would spend days in the house, doing little to nothing. After fulfilling obligations (presumably appearances or business related meetings), he would pay for them with headaches and dizziness, and would be forced to sit in the dark for a few days doing his best to ignore his children, or at least staying away from them when they became, you know, kids. He said he snapped at them a few times, but has learned to better manage that reflex. Usually. He still "gets a grrrrr on" every once in a while. 

Pronger has gotten on the ice a few times at his kids' hockey practices, but did nothing more than "push the puck around," as he described it. Somehow, that's not as cool as stealing a Stanley Cup game-winning puck from the Chicago Blackhawks.

A reporter asked Pronger if he ever thought about ending it – his life – and though Pronger chuckled at the question and said he didn't think it ever got that bad, he didn't laugh it off the way you might have expected an otherwise normal 38-year-old to do. Old Pronger would have have ignored the question, or, much more likely, walked out of the interview. This Pronger just said that doctors were pretty worried about him and that he had been depressed for a time. He probably still is. 

Those same doctors aren't sure if he'll ever get better. From the sounds of it, he'll improve, some, but will never be 100% again, and almost certainly won't play hockey. He won't admit that, and there's probably a couple reasons why: it's hard for any athlete to hang 'em up early, and doing so – retiring – would cost Pronger the roughly $12 million he's owed over the final four years of his deal. Or at least a portion of it (insurance would probably pay him a substantial chunk of that). The Flyers don't mind, either. As long as Pronger is on long-term injured reserve, they won't take a cap hit. If he retires, however, they will lose cap space, around $5 million per season. Plus they almost certainly have insurance that is covering Pronger's contract right now. So there's a decent chance that Pronger isn't retiring as a courtesy to the Flyers. And that's probably a good thing because, um, have you seen the defense?

Pronger has seen a little bit of it. He watches games when he can and provides the team with feedback, but he admitted that he isn't fully engaged (the former captain "checks the scores"). He'll be at the Penguins game tonight and thinks he can sit through the whole thing, something he couldn't do last time he was in town. But only if he feels like it.

Videos of his press conference after the jump.

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Video: Chris Pronger is Not in Good Shape

Kyle Scott - March 7, 2013

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Here’s a heartbreaking interview with Chris Pronger from SportsNet in Canada. Excerpts from the interview, including this one…

“What’s happened was I had 30-year-old eyes. I got hit and the doctor told me I had 60-year-old eyes,” the former Hartford Whaler, St. Louis Blue, Edmonton Oiler, Anaheim Duck and Philadelphia Flyer tells Murphy. “I don’t have very good peripheral vision. That so-called sixth sense? I used to really have a good one. Now, I couldn’t feel anybody comin’ around a corner. My kids scare me all the time.

“That used to be what I was known for: knowing where everybody was; having a feel for who was around me. Now I don’t have that.”

 

… were posted yesterday, with the two-part interview airing later in the day. 

Pronger won’t say he’s retiring, but it doesn’t look and sound good.

Watch it, after the jump.

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In Other News, Chris Pronger Looks Like He’s 78-Years-Old

Kyle Scott - January 14, 2013

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Looks like Prongs will be hanging around the Flyers, helping out.

Chris Wheeler Talks About Twitter and Possible Confusing Travel Plans for the Phillies

Kyle Scott - September 13, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com
And what's the deal with Cyberspace?

Chris Wheeler called into 97.5 The Fanatic today (a format in which he is infinitely more likable). He spoke with Tony Bruno and Jon Marks about the Phillies’ comeback, Jimmy Rollins, and Penn State (of course), among other things. But what stood out to me (and my fever as we drove in sweatpants in 80 degree weather to get our prescription) were Wheeler’s comments about A) Twitter and B) the headache the Phillies’ traveling secretary will have when making plans for October.

First up, the Twitter talk, in which Wheels (amazingly) reveals that he knows about (@THE_REAL_WHEELS) parody account, which, sadly, hasn’t updated since July. Wheeler was talking about the online reaction toward Penn State’s kicker this weekend, and immediately hopped up onto his high horse about people in cyberspace attacking a kid. Then, this:

“We all deal with it. People do it to us. They do it to you guys, I’m sure. If that’s what your life involves, if that’s what you have to do with it, you know, it’s one of those things, I guess.” 

You weren’t on Twitter blasting him, Wheels?

“I can’t even spell Twitter. Somebody had a Twitter account, Tony, I think it was last year or the year before, it was called The Real Wheels or something. I didn’t even know about it. People kept saying, “What are you saying this for?” I said, “What are you talking about?” I didn’t even know what Twitter or Tweeter was. Now I have a much better idea. So no, I have nothing to do with it. I understand the whole concept. I’m not going to be a fossil about it, but I have no interest in being involved in it.”

 

Somewhere, Bob Costas is stroking himself.

Now, on the Phils’ efforts to plan for what could be confusing October travel with the new Wild Card and playoff scenarios:

“Let me tell you, Tony, on the plane last night, I sit in front of Frank Coppenbarger, who’s our director of travel. And you think it’s crazy right now, how would you like to be this guy, who 2-3 weeks ago thought [he] was going to be playing golf in a few weeks, to the point of right now, where you’re going “Oh my god, do I have to get hotel rooms for one night in this town? Do I have to set up a hotel another night in this town? Do I have to worry about getting Delta (Phillies’ charter) to have an airplane ready here, have an airplane ready there?" It’s all very strange.” 

 

Strange indeed. Sexy, even.

Listen to the interview. It’s all around the one-hour mark of the full show.

UPDATE: Chris Pronger’s House (Which He Rents) Appears to be For Sale

Kyle Scott - June 14, 2012

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According to Twitter user (@briannawrist), the house Chris Pronger lives in is for sale.

Briana, who says she lives down the street from the Flyers’ captain, tweeted

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She was kind enough to go snap a picture for us, which you see above. Here’s the listing of what is confirmed to be his address– $1.5 million and it's yours.

A few weeks ago, some saw a moving van in front of the house, leading to speculation that Pronger was retiring. Or at least moving somewhere.

The Flyers quickly addressed the rumors, with sometimes fibber Paul Holmgren telling Philly.com that Pronger was going to spend some time with family in St. Louis: [Philly.com]

“There’s no truth to him retiring,” Holmgren said.

Because of an illness in his wife’s family, the Prongers are apparently going to spend some time in St. Louis, Holmgren said.

 

If him moving means the worst, it's obviously sad to see. There has been no official announcement from the team or Pronger. Nor will there be– a retirement announcement would cost the Flyers a cap hit. That's why Ian Laperriere waited until his contract expired at the end of this season to announce his retirement. And selling a house might not mean anything more than the house is for sale. But we can probably assume that it means more than that.

UPDATE: We're told that the house is owned by former Flyer Jason Smith, who was renting to Pronger. Regardless, Pronger has been living there – that part is confirmed – and now he's not. That's about as much as anyone knows.

Paul Holmgren Refutes Pronger Retirement Rumor

Kyle Scott - June 1, 2012

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Photo: Getty

Known liar Paul Holmgren addressed rumors that Chris Pronger was retiring and moving to St. Louis. Speaking to the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi yesterday, Holmgren said: [Philly.com]

“There’s no truth to him retiring,” Holmgren said.

Because of an illness in his wife’s family, the Prongers are apparently going to spend some time in St. Louis, Holmgren said.

 

Holmgren added that Pronger was still experiencing headaches.

The rumor of his retirement popped up on Twitter, when some, like this guy…

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… saw moving trucks outside Pronger’s home in New Jersey. Moving for three months (or whatever some time is) doesn’t usually require a moving truck… but most of us aren’t millionaires and can’t afford to hire one to take Little Johnny’s PS3 and longboard on a comfy ride halfway across this vast expanse known as America.

Anyway, Homer says Pronger is not retiring and we’re not going to speculate further, for now. At some point this summer, an update on Pronger's concussion is going to be needed, though.

Audio: Chris Therien Goes Off On Sidney Crosby

Kyle Scott - April 15, 2012

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Crosby watches as the real Hulk Hogan appears on video board

Let Chris Therien sum up your feelings about Sidney Crosby (and the Pittsburgh Penguins), following the first period scrum in which Crosby punked around all over the ice:

"You know what, Crosby is the one who started that thing. What is to say someone can't just punch his lights right out? Concussion or no concussion. Punch him in the face as hard as you can. He went after Timonen, so you drop a bomb right at his beak, and you let him know, "I don't care about your head, kid, if you're going to pull this stuff in our house." He's going to whine all night and cry all night for penalties, yet he goes after Kimmo Timonen."

 

I’m trying to set homerism aside… but it’s hard – for anyone – to not see what a bunch of whiny, dirty, disrespectful, cheap shots the Penguins are. It's almost mind-boggling.

Audio courtesy of WIP

UPDATE: Therien didn't let up. He continued in on Crosby in the third period:

“What is Crosby doing with Hartnell?! Crosby is an absolute joke right now.”

“This is Crosby’s fault! It’s a joke! The whole thing is Crosby’s fault.”

“Look at Crosby and Schenn. Come on Sidney, drop the gloves. Don’t hide behind the linesman. Why’s Crosby…. Crosby is giving it to Schenn behind the linesman. Get out in the open and drop your gloves. Go! Go ahead Schenner, take him.”

“He has caused more teammates and opposition to fight because of him today than I’ve ever seen one player in my NHL career, the history I’ve been involved in this league.”

“They should put one of those little nuks in his mouth. What do you call those things there? Those little baby soothers.”

Tim Saunders:

“In my day we called them nipples.”

 

That's poetry right there.

You're going to need to hop over the jump to listen to audio of that one.

Thanks to WIP's Adam Reigner (@adamreigner) and Kenny Brock (@KbrockJR) for the assist here

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The Sad State of Chris Pronger

Kyle Scott - March 30, 2012

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We knew Chris Pronger wasn’t doing so well. When he skipped a charity fashion show, planned by him and his wife Lauren, his significant other informed the media that her husband was still having “good days and bad days.” It’s a sad reality for Pronger, who has rarely even been around the team of late (once since his concussion, I believe).

So, today, when the Flyers posed for their team picture, Pronger was there in spirit… or in the form of a Flyers front office member:

 

Creepy, actually. But sad. Sad, too.

Other news from Flyers practice: Reporters, um, report that Bryz looked sharped in drills. He even got all silly again when he said: "You going to put in newspaper that Bryzgalov is practicing?" Oh Bryz, Russian goaltender so lovable when he stop puck.