Monday, February 28, 2011

A Pain In My Neck

So if you came here looking for some talk about New York Ranger or New York Islander prospects then I am really going to disappoint you today. By the time most of you read this on the east coast on Tuesday morning I will be at Sacred Heart Hospital either getting ready for or already beginning to undergo surgery.

What the image on the left is kind of what I am going to go though; a C5-C6 Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. I had this explanation post all written about how over a lifetime of being reckless, foolish and yes even arrogant has brought me to where I am today.

Instead I will ask you to look real close at this image and ask yourself how you would feel if this was you or someone you cared about.

Nobody wants to admit that in sports we have a serious lack of knowledge as to the extent of damage cause by blows to the head area. Here is what I do know; I hurt and I have to go through something I did not want to experience again.

4 years ago I had to have the C6-C7 fused and it was a horrible experience. They cut in from the front of your throat and as you can see insert discs in to try and open up the spaces where the nerves are.

Picture someone wrapping their hands around your throat and holding them there 24 hours a day for the next 3-4 weeks. That is what I am about to experience yet again.

I am not looking for any pity or warm wishes because what I hope this image does is give you a reason to think about blows to the head. A lifetime of my behavior is being rewarded by an operation that in all honesty scares the hell out of me.

But this is what I really do know which is over the last couple of months what started out as shoulder pain grew into elbow pain and then a numbness in my right arm. I can use the arm but I just can not feel anything when using it.

The pain likes to rotate from my neck to my back to my arm and repeats itself, It is frustrating because you do not know where the pain is going to shift to next.

Tell you what if people wish to believe that asking that blows to the head in sports become banned weakens the sport then please trade places with me. I will do so gladly.

Please by all means lose control of your own balance, watch as your temper goes from short fuse to out of control in mere seconds. That is just the beginning as the list is much larger but I have lost the heart here to write about.

This is what I do know, I have to be at the hospital at 6:30 where at 9:30 the surgery is expected to begin. I get to spend the night in the hospital but I get to wear this collar around my neck for the next month or so.

My first week I am not allowed to carry anything more than a glass of beverage, if I am lucky in week I can start to carry up to 5 lbs. I am not allowed to drive so that means I am not able to do what I love scout/cover today's Ranger/Islander prospects in person.

Oh yea I love my head shots now, I really would like to thank the teenage version of myself for thinking that he always had to fight the world when he was out gunned and out matched. Stay down they would say but no I had to prove to the world that this guy was tough. Dumb kid and just for you we have this lovely collar to wear around your neck for who knows how long.

I see Marc Savard and I want to scream at him, beg him  to stop enough already, there is no money is worth it no love of the sport is worth it. I want all the leagues to stop trying to hide when someone has "concussion-like" symptoms cause there is no "like" part to it.

If you have "like" symptoms then you have it.

Oh yea my fear is doing the talking right now because I am scared, frustrated and angry all rolled into one.

I hope that those of you who found this place over the years to come back when I do but to help you keep track of the prospects here are some of the best places to visit. While others want to claim they are expert these folks really are the experts.

Taking Note for the WHL news

Buzzing the Net Yahoos best hockey reporters bar none

The World Of Junior Hockey covering all areas NCAA and CHL

OHL Prospects excellent work

The Pipeline Show as these guys cover NCAA and CHL

Loose Pucks  the OHL in depth

Around The Q The QMJHL

I am about to become the world's biggest Portland Winterhawk fan because I have set a goal of covering a Portland Winterhawk playoff game in 6 weeks. That should be the WHL's conference finals and I plan on being there.

And if you have not given up on reading this by now Thank You for helping me live out a dream. I will be back you can bet the house on it.

(Image: Beverly Hills Spine Surgery)


Anonymous said...

Good luck and be well. If it is any consolation, there are a lot of us who are paying the dues for over the top athletic behavior from days gone by.
I have been reading your blog daily for the last several months, as an Islanders fan it has been a hopeful distraction, and enjoy your good work. I look forward to reading it again soon when you are back at it.
Stay well.

Jay said...

Jess, Good luck. I had a fracture, dislocation of C3,C4 a long time ago. Had fusion, and was on my back (actually on a Stryker Frame) for 2 months, without being able to get up. Now, 53 years later, still holding up well, with some aches and pains here and there.

Kmp said...


May your surgery alleviate your pain and your recovery be swift. Enjoy your site, hope you will be back doing what you love providing great insight into Ranger prospects. (ok I read the Islander stuff too).

NCSteve said...

Hope you are well. I have taken your advice to heart. However, I continue to play "old man" soccer and pickup hockey (as a goalie) and feel fine. Hopefully, I can continue for many more years.

I do know people with your type of condition who have come through it fine. As I always say to the players I coach (and to myself): Do what the doctors tell you to do!

Joke: I knew a guy who had ACL and he decided to do TWO TIMES the amount of treatments that the doc told him to do. Hence, told to walk a mile, he walked two. Told to stretch for half an hour, he stretched for an hour. And told to take two Percocets, he would take FOUR Percocets. Sheesh.

Bad joke. But just trying to cheer you up, my friend. Thanks for all your hard work

And GO RANGERS! (When's that goal-scoring machine going to arrive MSG? Soon, I hope. Like, TONIGHT!)

Best wishes, NCSteve

Wen C said...


Get better soon. I'll miss your insights and writing and even more important is that you get your health back. Be well.