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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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Doug Collins Hates His Basketball Team

Kyle Scott - February 27, 2013

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I told you. I told you this job was going to kill Doug Collins

Speaking to reporters after his team shit the bed and then rolled in it against the Magic at the Wells Fargo Center last nigh, Collins ripped every lazy, no-good, half-assed Sixer, questioning their effort, dedication, passion, intenseness and proudness in the process.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Philadelphia 76ers. Go ahead, Coach:

:45 Starts quoting Pat Summit– never a good sign less than a minute into a presser

1:15 Bob, you know what, man? I wish I knew. I gave my body to this franchise. I was never booed as a player. Never.

1:55 The team we tried to put together, we’ve never seen. 

3:00 If everybody looked inside themselves as much as I did, this world would be a CAT Scan.

3:55 After a while, the talk gets old.

4:35 I love it when the fans yell at me. I’m not playin’! You didn’t yell at me when I’m played. I’m coaching.

5:10 They say it’s a player’s league… then take ownership. 

5:45 Three guys weren’t even sweating when we started the game. We’re 6-for-18 at the start of the game.

6:15 [Why wasn’t Bynum on the bench?] Does Bynum sit [on the bench] every game? I don’t know. Sometimes he sits back there and gets treatment. A part of this group is wondering, are you gonna play? Aren’t you gonna play?

7:25 I’m disappointed. There was so much this season we were looking forward to. Every time we turn around, it’s something else.

7:55 We made a huge deal, and we have no guys playing as a result of that deal. 

10:05 When I have coached, I have always been able to find answers. I can’t find answers.

Video after the jump.

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Jeffrey Lurie’s Press Conference Has Been Moved to 1 p.m.

Kyle Scott - December 31, 2012

Not like the Eagles had time to prepare for this…………….

Concussion Updates and Andy Reid Feels Your Pain

Kyle Scott - November 19, 2012

A deceased Andy Reid sauntered to the podium at the NovaCare Complex today for his weekly press conference. This will surprise you, but he said he takes responsibility, has to do a better job, and that this is fixable. He also talked about Michael Vick’s and LeSean McCoy’s concussions. 

Vick: he’s “improving,” but his ImPACT test came back below baseline (not back to normal), so he is still at Stage 1 in recovery. 

Stage 1 is the first of five stages in recovering from a concussion, according to It includes light aerobic exercise, no football.

McCoy: he has a headache and is also still at Stage 1. It will be taken day-by-day.

Reid was asked about stepping down and said it would be a cop-out, and it’s “not how he’s wired.” He also said that Jeffrey Lurie is “disappointed.”

Reid feels your pain, too: "I know we’re letting the fans down and the city down. I understand how they feel on this."

Well, now I feel better.

Video: Asante Samuel Laid into Andy Reid After the Game

Kyle Scott - October 28, 2012

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Asante Samuel, kind of a dick, laid into Andy Reid in his post-game press conference. Normally, I’m not one to applaud anything Asante says or does – because he’s kind of a dick – but this is hilarious… and fairly accurate.

Apparently, Reid snubbed Samuel before the game (likely because of this Tweet and this press conference, among other things– mostly Samuel being a dick), and that's something to which Samuel didn’t take too kindly.

“Ain’t he the best coach after the bye week? FALSE.” 


That’s the least of the digs at his former coach. Give it a watch, after the jump.

H/T to (@JerichoKenny)

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Translating Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel’s Press Conference

Kyle Scott - October 4, 2012

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Last year, about this time but a few weeks later, Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel sat down in front of reporters, separately, and tried to convince the assembled scriptuals and, by extension, fans that the Phillies would have a new approach at the plate in 2012, that things would change. That Jimmy Rollins would turn into a slap hitter. That Ryan Howard would strike out less. That Shane Victorino wouldn’t be an idiot. That Hunter Pence, too, wouldn’t be an idiot. That Chase Utley would… well, keep being Chase Utley.

We chronicled Amaro's season-ending press conference here. It came just days after the Phillies lost in five games to the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Just days after they only scored one run in the final 17 innings of the series.

Not even the most naive fan really bought what Amaro and Manuel were saying, but all of us crossed our fingers that some of the core players and veterans could change their games, just a bit.

Then we all remember that Ryan Howard was rolling around on a scooter. 

Then the Phillies signed Jim Thome.

Re-signed Jimmy Rollins.

Signed Ty Wigginton.

Laynce Nix.

Juan Pierre.

All of a sudden, it seemed like more of the same. Amaro, who was hell bent on changing the Phillies’ approach at the plate, added players who were essentially older, slower and less-talented (Pierre notwithstanding) versions of old, slow and talented players the Phillies already had.  

Ryan Howard is a home run threat and strikes out a lot? Let’s get Jim Thome to fill-in for him. We moved him five years ago to make room for Howard, but now Thome is older and not as good as he used to be. He’ll make a great addition.

Let’s sign Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix, below average Major League players who are only marginally more versatile than guys like Ross Gload and Matt Stairs, who we parted ways with in recent years. 

I didn’t quite get it from the beginning. Sure, Pierre and Jonathan Papelbon (money aside) proved to be welcome additions and quality performers. But you can argue that the Phillies moved laterally, and therefore, because of age and injuries, backward last offseason.

Then came Howard’s setback. The non-setback that pushed his return back at least two months.

Then the Utley fiasco.

All this, before the season started. By that point, the comments about changing the approach had been forgotten, replaced with talk about whether the Phils could fill out a lineup card with names that weren’t on a schedule at a supermarket last October while the Phils were playing in their fifth straight postseason.

I bring all that up, not to ball tap you into submission, but to say that it feels like just yesterday that Amaro and Manuel sat there, giving us answers that they might not have even believed. And now here we are again, a post-season press conference to explain why there is no postseason. This time what went wrong wasn’t a poorly timed late-season slump. This time everything went wrong. This time the Washington Nationals are NL East Champs.

This time, it’s the end of days.

So, instead of trumpeting their words like I did last year and like most of the team’s beat writers will do, I’d like to translate some of the more important points and quotes from today’s 45-minute, season-ending press conference. Because last year I felt confident that Amaro and Manuel knew what they were doing (they had earned the benefit of the doubt). But not this year. This year I’m scared. 


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Graham Spanier’s Lawyers Will Denounce the Freeh Report Today

Kyle Scott - August 22, 2012

The lawyers for the worst university president in the world, Graham Spanier, will hold a press conference in Philadelphia this morning to blast the Freeh report and its findings. Fun! 

We’ll bring you the details, but presumably the sentiments will echo those shared by Spanier in a letter he wrote the Penn State board in which he claimed that he was abused as a child and, as a lifelong family therapist, would have never allowed the continual abuse of innocent children if he knew what was going on.

The mere fact that representatives for Spanier (who holds a top secret government clearance) are speaking out against the report conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh means things are probably going to even muddier in this whole situation. And Greg Bucceroni, the man who claims that he was introduced to Jerry Sandusky in 1979 and 1980 as part of a child sex ring, says he will be present, presumably to support Spanier’s denouncement.

Bucceroni claims that the Freeh investigation was extremely limited in its scope because had it gone back to the 1980s, it would have uncovered Sandusky’s ties to a sex ring involving members of the mob, which Freeh investigated while with the FBI.

Like I said, fun!

A Running Commentary of Today’s Sixers Pep Conference™

Kyle Scott - August 15, 2012

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Photo courtesy CBS Philly, they have a full gallery here

The Sixers held a pep rally for the big game against Valley later this week. 

The Sixers held a public press conference at the Constitution Center today to welcome Andrew Bynum and the man with the 15th most made three-pointers in NBA history, Jason Richardson. This a running commentary of that press conference, which I watched online.

Let me say up front that I’m a fan of the trade. I love it, in fact. The Sixers got the best possible deal they could have for Andre Iguodala. Bynum is an elite player and Jason Richardson is a good complementary piece. Bynum’s contract has only one year remaining, so the Sixers can either choose to offer him a new deal (if he proves to be the star player they expected) or let him walk and use freed up money to spend on next year’s stellar free agent class (if Bynum’s injury problems creep up or he turns out to be a complete flake).  

Good, now that that’s out of the way… 

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0:22 Czar Aron takes the stage to chants of Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA! The Lakers, of course, play in the NBA’s Western Conference and just upgraded from Bynum to Dwight Howard. Beat Indiana doesn’t have the same ring to it, I guess. 

0:38 Aron: “Good afternoon to our press corps, because after all, this is a working press conference.”

Yeah, yeah, sure it is. Now if you’ll just excuse the hollowed out center of the room, the inscriptions of quotes from our forefathers and the chanting throng of unemployed Sixers fans, we’ll get started.

Also, press corps? That’s a rather official sounding term for Bob Cooney and a bunch of beat writers who had to be stripped off the Wildwood beach to do the bare minimum.


Not to be gross here, but there’s a reasonable chance Aron just shat himself.

1:26 Aron: “Jason and Andrew, your star power has lit up this city since our announcement just on Friday of your impending arrival.”

Aron, himself, arrived back in Philly from London at some point late Monday or Tuesday.  How does he know?

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1:41 Aron has totally buried his own lede here. He just now introduced himself as the Sixers co-owner and CEO, 100 seconds in. That was like the opening to CSI. Set the stage then, boom, credits. ME!

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