Gabriel Landeskog is emerging as an important voice off the ice.
In an article entitled "We Need to Talk About Concussions, Right Now", Landeskog details a concussion suffered back in 2013 and how he felt pressure to make a swift return to the ice after having been named the youngest captain in NHL history the previous offseason.
He writes to hockey players at every level to be honest about symptoms related to head injuries, and also to teammates who need to look out for potentially injured peers.
That, he says, is a mark of true leadership.
One thing I’ve learned about leadership is that it’s not always about being a rah-rah guy, or giving a great speech. Sometimes it’s just about looking out for your teammates and understanding what they’re going through. That includes the injuries that you can’t see - that don’t bleed all over your jersey like my broken nose did.
Unlike broken bones, concussions are invisible, and that means that everyone in the hockey community needs to unite and redefine what we mean by toughness and warrior mentality. If we continue to keep quiet, it’s sending the message that taking time to recover is not right, or that it’s a sign of weakness. We have to stand up and speak up.
"Take as much time as you need to recover," Landeskog adds.
It's an important message, coming amid a concussion lawsuit filed by former players wherein commissioner Gary Bettman may be called upon to testify about his stance the long-term effects of head injuries.
The full article can be read here.