In case you missed it with all of the Olympic action (or in Team USA's case, lack there-of) going on this morning, some more heartbreaking news regarding Marc-Andre Bourdon's ongoing battle and recovery with post-concussion symptoms has come out:
Poor Marc-Andre Bourdon. He can't seem to get healthy. He is out of Phantoms' lineup with concussion symptoms. #Flyers— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) February 22, 2014
Quick story coming after talking to Terry Murray. Marc-Andre Bourdon is having head issues again and didn’t make the trip to Philly.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) February 22, 2014
Per Carchidi and Isaac, the headaches have returned for Bourdon, who was hit in the head in the Adirondack Phantoms' game against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on February 8. He also suffered a cut under his eye, which required several stitches to close.
Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Bourdon was just cleared by Paul Holmgren on January 19 (a little over a month ago.) The Phantoms defenseman had faced setback after setback for the past two years, and it had finally looked like he was ready to put all of his concussion problems behind him and work his way back into becoming a regular contributor in the Adirondack Phantoms' lineup. But, as he's finding out, that's not quite so easy.
As Bourdon tries to get back to the level he's capable of while playing in Glens Falls, there are going to be a lot questions about him. Will he be the same player he was before? Will he be much of a fighter now that he's had head injuries, given that that's what he resorted to three years ago when his job in the organization looked to be in jeopardy? What happens the next time he takes a huge hit? Where does the organization even see him, relative to other AHL guys like Mark Alt, Brandon Manning, and Oliver Lauridsen?
Bourdon's a fighter, on and off the ice; he's been battling the effects of lingering post-concussion symptoms for a little over two years now. Concussions are scary. Every case is different, and symptoms can arise and persist for months, even years, after trauma.
It's quite sad to see Bourdon put this much effort into returning/skating/playing - only to have the smallest hit/check/nudge/fight/whatever affect his post-concussion recovery.
This latest setback has really magnified something a lot of people need to realize: it's not about hockey anymore. It should have been that way a long, long time ago. Ignore all of his prospect rankings. Ignore what he did for the team in 2011-2012. Ignore whatever chances Bourdon has left to crack the Flyers' lineup.
Marc-Andre Bourdon is only 24 years old; he's still a kid, by NHL standards. These reoccurring symptoms have the chance to completely derail his quality of life after he's long removed from the sport of hockey. They already have. Fans need to completely abandon worrying about any contribution this kid will make to this team in the short or long term. That's the way it needs to be. His future outside of hockey is far, far more important.
It's time for Bourdon to start focusing on his quality of life after his days spent on the ice. Because that's all that really matters now.