How Eric Lindros Helped Spark a Culture Change in the NHL

How Eric Lindros Helped Spark a Culture Change in the NHL




It was 1998 when Eric Lindros appeared on the cover of the inaugural
issue of ESPN the Magazine along with Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, and Kordell
Stewart. They were dubbed “the Next Ones”in their respective sports.

The mag is celebrating its 15th year in existence with their
May 13th issue, and in their look back on Lindros, David Fleming finds No. 88
did change hockey and sports as we know them – just not in the way we imagined.
Fleming details the superstar center’s history with concussions, and how his once
highly-criticized actions helped affect change in the way concussions are
viewed and handled.

Last season about 90 NHL players
(or 13 percent of the league) missed games with concussions, including former
playoff MVP Jonathan
Toews. The simple truth is that there may not be a way to wipe out
concussions completely in violent contact sports like football and hockey. So
what Lindros did was the next best thing: He stood up to hockey's insidious
play-through-it culture. As a result, players today will tell you they feel
less obligated to hide or downplay a brain injury or postconcussion symptoms --
a mindset that protects them far more than any helmet or rule ever could.

"It's unfortunate what Lindros
dealt with throughout his career," says Maple Leafs defenseman
John-Michael Liles, who missed 16 games in 2011-12 following a concussion.
"But I think that one of the things everyone knows now, if there's a possibility
that you got your bell rung pretty well, it's, 'Hey, we need to take a couple
of days and see.' "

"Not so crazy now, was
I?" Lindros says, before catching himself. "But you want to give me
credit? I hate the idea of that more than anything. That poster boy s -- ? No.
No thanks."

A lot of the story you already know. Lindros suffered
multiple concussions during his time with the Flyers, which at the time was a
common condition for athletes to play through. His refusal to do so created a
rift both with fans and inside the organization.

The profile also covers some aspects that are not so widely publicized,
including details of Lindros’ life after hockey. He’s tried to remain involved
in the battle, donating millions for research and speaking to medical students
about his first-hand experiences. It doesn’t always comes as easily for Lindros
as things seemed to on the ice, as he also discussed some disappointment from
his time working hand-in-hand with the NHLPA on the issue.

The good news is Lindros himself isn’t experiencing
long-term effects associated with brain injuries, and is described as strong
and sharp. Actually, he looked like he could’ve put on a uniform and helped the
Flyers at the Winter Classic Alumni Game in 2011.

We don’t talk about it often here, but obviously concussions
have been at the forefront in the NHL and NFL especially for a few years now.
Some of the research is still very new, but there is no escaping the fact that
these sports are going to continue to change and grow over the next few years
and decades. It’s not how Lindros wants to or should be remembered, but he
helped spark the movement.

>> Lindros redefined NHL’s culture of playing through injuries

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Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

The magician himself needed help on this one.

His bow tie.

Hey, this is what teammates are for, right?

On Monday night, Eagles longsnapper and NBC's America's Got Talent star Jon Dorenbos emceed safety Malcolm Jenkins' third annual Blitz, Bow Ties and Bourbon charity event, which raises money for Philadelphia's youth and underserved communities.

Dorenbos, quite the wizard with his hands and card tricks, couldn't solve the bow tie.

“I had no clue,” Dorenbos said in an interview with CSN's John Clark. "In fact, this is the first bow tie I’ve ever worn.”

Jenkins had his back. Watch the Eagles' leader go to work and save Dorenbos in the video above.