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  Posted: Saturday August 18, 2001 1:20 AM

Ever feel like you've heard it all before when it comes to Eric Lindros and his comebacks from concussions? CNNSI.com has gone back over three years of diagnosis, denial and accusations.
March 7, 1998 
Coming across the blue line with his head down, Lindros is crushed by Darius Kasparaitis. Though he gives up five inches and 25 pounds, Kasparaitis sends Lindros down with a thud and there he stays. As he is helped off the ice, Lindros' eyes are eerily glazed over. He misses 18 games.  
Eric Lindros: "I don't recall the hit. I recall a lot of things after the hit. I'm tired, I have a headache, and things aren't as sharp as they could be." 
Penguins team doctor Charles Burke: "In Eric's case, he just seemed a little less alert. He obviously knew who he was, but he didn't know where he was or what he was doing there. But when I asked him, 'What's your brother's name?' he knew it." 
Flyers team doctor Jeffrey Hartzell: "He was in a fog. He did know that he had left a bag on the bus, but he didn't know that there was a hockey game going on." 
Brett Lindros, younger brother: "The problem for me was that I didn't take enough time off between [concussions] because I didn't know anything about it. No one knew." 
Carl Lindros, father: "Each circumstance is different and each person is different." 
Hartzell: "Dizziness isn't a big problem right now, but he gets headaches primarily when he tries to concentrate. ... His reaction time is still a little slow, too. Although it's much better than it was, it's not yet normal." 
Eric Lindros: "The biggest thing is having a sense of when to come back, and making sure when you do come back you're not putting yourself in a position where you're much more susceptible to having the whole process re-occur."  
December 29, 1998 
At Calgary, Lindros is hit twice on the same shift. He hits the ice trying to avoid a hit by Steve Smith. Seconds later, he is checked into the boards by Jason Wiemer. Lindros does not return, but he misses only two games.  
Eric Lindros: "Helluva shift, eh? I've had better days. It's not anything as bad as what I have had before. It's a bottom-level concussion. I'm not going to miss 19 or 20 games." 
Eric Lindros: "Don't make a big deal out of this injury. It's not a big thing ... We've got games to win." 
Carl Lindros: "We don't have any indication how many games it will be, but the good thing is, Eric didn't have any of the disorientation symptoms he had last year." 
Flyers team doctor Gary Dorshimer: "He has no dizziness. His sleep has been good. He has no headaches, and on his exam, everything looked normal. He's back to his baseline. The last few days as he's felt better, he's pushed himself and with good exertion, he's continued to feel fine."  
Teammate John LeClair: "You definitely worry about it. With it hitting so close to home with his brother, you really wonder about him and hope everything will be all right. He has always got a constant reminder of what could happen."  
Coach Roger Neilson: "He told me he'll be ready for Sunday, for sure. But that's up to our trainers and medical staff. A guy is ready to play or he isn't. It doesn't matter if it's Eric Lindros, Colin Forbes or Dan McGillis, if they're ready, they're ready; if they're not, they're not.  
Eric Lindros: "The fact is you're given one brain and if you injure it, it's not like you can trade it in after 100,000 miles. I'm certainly well aware what the parameters are and how this works. I'm not going to screw up a big chunk of the year by making a mistake."  
January 14, 2000 
At Atlanta, Lindros gives one hit and takes another a few minutes later. Neither is bonecrushing, but after getting dumped by Chris Tamer, Lindros leaves the ice. He misses four games. 
Eric Lindros: "This is not something I'm taking lightly. Everybody has assured me that given the right amount of time, I can come back with no complications." 
Carl Lindros: "As long as there's an appropriate rest period, a minor concussion stays a minor concussion. When you return too quickly, you're susceptible to something more significant. Probably the buzz that Eric got from the original hit led to his susceptibility to the elbow." 
Eric Lindros: "If there's any balance in this world, I should have about 10 years of free sailing." 
Flyers team doctor Gary Dorshimer: "On the average, it would be about a week if everything comes along as expected." 
Eric Lindros: "Normally, when you give a hit, you're supposed to walk out of there feeling pretty good about things. Yeah, I'm a little concerned about it."  
March 4, 2000 
At Boston, another seemingly normal hit on Hal Gill leaves Lindros dazed and confused. He finishes the game and plays four more before checking into a hospital. Migraines are blamed, then his medication. Finally, he is diagnosed with a Grade II concussion. He's out for the regular season. 
Eric Lindros: "The last time I had a concussion, I didn't talk to [general manager Bobby Clarke] for three weeks. Then he said off the record that my agent was a fool and disruptive for insisting the team follow return-to-play guidelines." 
Flyers GM Bob Clarke: "I can't speak for Eric, but I'm assuming Eric, like all players, hides injuries. Players forever have felt that's the courageous and right thing to do. If Eric feels he has a headache, we didn't know he had a concussion. If he has a headache, what are we supposed to do about it?" 
Flyers chairman Ed Snider: "I'm very sorry for Eric. What he is going through is a shame, like the guy has some kind of jinx on him." 
Flyers team doctor Jeffrey Hartzell: "This is not a concussion injury we're talking about here. It's more a variation of a migraine headache." 
Teammate John LeClair: "At first, I thought it was one of those things that would get better, and it hasn't yet." 
Teammate Keith Jones: "We're worried about him. We want him completely healthy. He's been trying to play through it. He knows this is the time of the year when they need him in the lineup. But we need him at 100 percent, not 50 percent." 
Flyers GM Bob Clarke: "We're very confident that our trainers did the right thing, that our doctors are the best doctors you can get, that our trainers are the best trainers you can get. The only way that you can all get to the bottom of this is we're going to ask Eric, the doctors, and trainers to meet with you all and you ask them all the questions. ... The speculation against our doctors and trainers is very offensive." 
Teammate Adam Burt: "I noticed that in between periods lately he seemed to be rubbing his head a lot. Like he would be sitting down, rubbing it, and seemed a lot quieter than he usually is." 
Flyers GM Bob Clarke: "The doctor says what he has should clear up and he should be fine. But certainly, that is a concern to us." 
Dr. Kevin Stone, The Stone Clinic: "After three concussions, you're starting to get into the danger zone." 
Dr. Donald Leslie, the Shepherd Center: "One more injury, and he may not be on the team. He may not even be able to take care of his own daily activities. ... I would recommend that someone with four consecutive concussions not put himself at further risk for a fifth."  
Eric Lindros: "I knew that things were not good, and I tried to convey that through my symptoms. But I was not going to pull myself out of the game. I wanted the team to pull me out. I was hoping as the week went on that they would do that." 
May 4, 2000 
Still recovering from concussion No. 4, Lindros works out with the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms and collides with defenseman Francis Lessard during a non-contract scrimmage. He suffers a 20-stitch cut to his lip and another concussion. Since has been out, the Flyers have stripped him of the captaincy and hold no hopes of him returning, although he sets his sights on the conference finals. 
Eric Lindros: "You get to a point where you think you've got a shot at coming back real quick. Then . . . it knocks the wind out of your sails. It was supposed to be a really low-key pass-the- puck-around skate. There was a collision and he tried to go left-right, between my feet, and he just ran into me." 
Strength and conditioning instructor Jim McCrossin: "Eric was very coherent, knew exactly what was going on, said there were no symptoms [except for the headaches], no nausea, nothing compared to what he had before. The conclusion was, he had a contusion on the lower lip and a laceration on the upper lip." 
Flyers team doctor Gary Dorshimer: "[He] had some frontal headache, which seemed mostly superficial. But it's hard to know with headaches. [He had] total recollection of everything. He didn't feel unsteady on the ice at all [after the accident]." 
Flyers chairman Ed Snider: "I became aware of it when I got to the game today by virtue of [director of public relations] Zack Hill letting me know that the press had let him know that Eric had sustained another Grade II concussion and was out for the season. I'm a little surprised to hear it second hand and I'm surprised that the organization was not informed first."  
Carl Lindros: "This is a significant setback." 
Eric Lindros: "I want to come back. I've worked too hard to give up on this. I'm not going to say I can't come back because I still think I can. Is it a setback? Yes. But I'm feeling pretty good, and hopefully I can get some action later on. I'm cramming in as much therapy as I can. I'm not giving up." 
Eric Lindros: "I'm not giving up on this season. I don't know where this is coming from. My father never said I was done for the season, and I didn't either."  
Teammate Mark Recchi: "We'd love to have him back, but, if we sit and wait for him, we'll be in trouble. We've done a lot to get here and we're just going to keep doing our thing. It's not anybody's team anymore. It's the Philadelphia Flyers. It's a team. There's no individual that's bigger than the organization. It's a team from the management and the ownership on down, and that's the way everyone wants it." 
New captain Eric Desjardins: "We're playing like he's not coming back. If he comes back we'll deal with it and I'm pretty sure everything's going to be all right. He might be back. He might not. We've heard enough of that. Nobody's saying, 'Stay away.' He's the one who's been staying away. We never said we didn't want him around." 
Devils center Jason Arnott: "With the concussions that he's had, you would think he would maybe take some more time off and rest. But if it was me, I would want to come back as soon as possible, too."  
Eric Lindros: "I feel I can help out and I'm looking forward to it."
Devils defenseman Scott Stevens: "Yes, if I can hit him, I'm going to hit him when he's got the puck. I'm not going to go out of my way, I'm not going to hit him dirty, but I have to finish checks, and I know that if he's got a chance to hit me, he will." 
May 27, 2000 
Lindros does indeed return for Game 6 of the conference finals, scoring the Flyers' only goal in a 2-1 loss that sends the series back to Philly for Game 7. There, only 7:50 into the game, Scott Stevens' words become prophetic. With a run-of-the-mill open-ice hit, Stevens flattens Lindros for good. He leaves the game with concussion No. 6 and sets off a year of uncertainty about his career. His feud with Bob Clarke reaches levels of the absurd and the Lindros saga drags out through months of fruitless trade talk.  
Teammate John LeClair: "It was sickening. It's a great concern. We all know his history."  
Devils defensemen Scott Stevens: "I had a lot of trouble playing after that. I hate to see that happen." 
Flyers coach Craig Ramsay: "The doctor cleared him, and he wanted to play. I've listened to a lot of players in my career, and I listened to him." 
New Jersey's Claude Lemieux: "It's scary. I saw the mouthpiece pop out of his mouth and I think everyone was looking to see if he was conscious. It's a big loss for the game if he's not able to come back."  
Flyers coach Roger Neilson: "He seemed better between periods, and he answered all the questions we asked him correctly. It seems to me that it is not as serious a concussion as before. By the end of the first period, he seemed lucid." 
Teammate Mark Recchi: "It was a very sad thing. He didn't look too good and we are concerned about his career." 
Eric Lindros: "I don't know what the future holds. I haven't thought about the future to the point I want to discuss it publicly. I love playing in this city. The fans in this city are spectacular. I'm tired of the whole grind of it all. It's frustrating. It's back to square one." 
Teammate Mark Recchi: "Is the love of the game worth going out there and risking the rest of your life? Obviously, it's not. I'd just tell him to think long and hard about it." 
Flyers GM Bob Clarke: "I see Eric Desjardins get his teeth knocked out. I didn't hear from his mom and dad. John LeClair gets his face torn up with 40 stitches, and we didn't hear from his mom and dad. I'm just so tired of our organization getting beat up so badly by all the accusations the family makes. I don't dislike Eric. I pity him. I feel sorry for him. What's it like to be 27 years old and have your mom and dad running your life? Can't even go to the ... doctor on your own without your mom and dad coming along."  
Broadcaster Don Cherry: "How a kid could be out for two months and be sharp for two months? Whoever made the decision putting him in should be ashamed of themselves." 
Flyers GM Bob Clarke: "If he's going to come back, he can't have his dad calling us and telling us who to trade for and who he wants to play with Eric and who can't play with Eric." 
 

 


 
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