Concussion puts NHL Dreams on Ice

 In Success Stories, Success Stories: Hyperbaric Oxygen

There can be no denying that hockey is Canada’s national game. It is on television and radio all day… every day. Virtually every young Canadian dreams of playing in the National Hockey League when they grow up. Stratford, Ontario’s Joey Hishon was no exception. In June 2010 those dreams were on their way to becoming a reality as Joey was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. As he donned the Avalanche jersey and stood there on the stage of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it began to sink in that all of the hard work and late night skates had finally paid off.

Joey went on to play his final season of Canadian junior ice hockey. He led the Owen Sound Attack in scoring with 87 points (37 goals, 50 assists) averaging an impressive 1.74 points per game. He was instrumental in guiding the Attack to the J. Ross Robertson Cup as the 2010-11 Ontario Hockey League Champions.

Everything was going according to plan. Joey was to compete in one final Memorial Cup tournament before heading to Colorado for training camp to fulfill his dreams of playing in the NHL. The Memorial Cup is awarded annually to the Canadian Hockey League champion. It is a four-team tournament between a host team and the champions of the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League and is the pinnacle of junior hockey success.

On May 21, 2011 Joey’s dreams of playing in the NHL were in danger of being put on ice as he sustained a violent, illegal elbow to his head in his team’s first game of the Memorial Cup. Blood dripped from his face as he lay on the ice before being helped off by staff and teammates. Joey was diagnosed with a concussion and was forced to sit out the remainder of the tournament. Little did he know that this was just the beginning of a long break from the game he loved.

Nearly four months after he was knocked out of the Memorial Cup, Joey was still not able to take part in on-ice activities at Colorado’s fall training camp. Daily headaches kept him from participating in any physical activity. As more time went by, headaches continued to provide an ongoing reminder of the injury he had received to his brain. Even on days when he would not have a headache, Joey felt like his mind was clouded, as if he were walking around in a constant fog. Any physical exertion would cause him to experience painful pressure in his head.

Doctors refused to clear Joey for play until all of his headaches and concussion symptoms had subsided. The only remedy that they would prescribe to him was rest. Before he knew it, four more months had passed and half the season was lost as his condition did not improve. Then a friend told Joey about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and explained how it had helped him overcome a similar injury. Unfortunately, Joey was asked not to pursue treatments and told that while there was evidence HBOT would aid in post-concussion recovery, there was no proof that it would help in the relief from headaches.

Joey was forced to continue waiting. Three more months passed and the entire 2011-12 season was lost. He could wait no longer. Joey arrived at Sara’s Garden a mere 14 days shy of the one year anniversary of his concussion. As he progressed through his round of treatments he became hopeful as the frequency of his headaches began diminishing. He started working out in his hotel’s gym and noticed that he was not experiencing the pressure in his head as he had in the past.

After completing a round of 40 HBOT treatments, Joey is now on the path to recovery and working towards becoming an NHL player like he has always dreamed of. Thanks to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden, Joey is back on the ice and his dream of a career in the NHL is no longer on hold.

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

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