Jake Gardiner left Saturday’s game with a head injury

The Toronto Marlies beat the Rochester Americans 4-3 last night on goals from Nazem Kadri, Ryan Hamilton, and two from Jake Gardiner. As would happen, Gardiner would leave the game with a “head injury”, but, oh no, it isn’t a concussion, the team assures us:

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“He wasn’t in a concussion state, just not feeling quite right,” coach Dallas Eakins said. With all of our players, we err on the side of caution. We’ll re-evaluate him later tonight and tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, being scrupulous about injuries or erring on the side of caution isn’t something that the Toronto Marlies have really preached lately, or has the big club. Last season, while the Marlies had Joe Colborne play through a wrist injury that ended up requiring surgery, it was widely speculated that goaltender James Reimer with the big club was playing through a concussion.

Here are Dallas Eakins’ full comments from Leafs TV:

“He played a hell of a game, didn’t he? Jake got hit to the head, you know, it wasn’t a real concussion state or anything like that he just was not feeling quite right and with all of our players, we err on the side of caution. We’ll re-evaluate him later tonight and tomorrow.

Yeah, [his symptoms] kind of came on later in the [second] period, so, uh, listen, he had a great game, provided some big offence for us and goals and real good times.”

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If you missed the game, here are the highlights of Gardiner’s goal:

If a player is displaying symptoms of a concussion, he has a concussion. There’s no such thing as a “mild” concussion, and given recent history—not just with Reimer—but with Colby Armstrong and Colton Orr, you hope that the team is open and up-front about the symptoms and that Gardiner isn’t forced to play through a serious head injury.

“Just not feeling right” flies in this case if Gardiner has a head cold. Michael Augello from HockeyBuzz tweeted out that Gardiner was “feeling nauseated” although that phrase is unsourced.

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  • Markas

    “If a player is displaying symptoms of a concussion, he has a concussion.”

    Patently untrue. Headaches and nausea are common in high exertion sports. They are symptoms of a concussion, but it doesn’t mean Gardiner is concussed. The team is right to be cautious but not label it.

    • Your argument would have a lot more weight if it wasn’t for the fact that Jake Gardiner displayed these “symptoms” after taking a hit to the head.

      Let’s not be naive and say “Well, he did get his bell rung, but maybe he’s got a headache because he was playing his pre-game Jock Jams 5 CD too loud.”

      • Markas

        The truth is somewhere in the middle. You can have a headache from being hit in the head, and it’s very important to get checked for other more telling symptoms afterwards (confusion, poor memory), but it still doesn’t mean you are concussed.

        Again, better safe than sorry. Keep him out for a few games regardless.