Sidney Crosby, the NHL’s biggest star, said on Monday that he was experiencing concussion symptoms again and that he would sit out indefinitely.
“After talking with everyone, I just figured it was better to be cautious here and not take any chances,” he told reporters in Pittsburgh. “That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
Crosby, who missed more than 10 months after sustaining a concussion in January last year, said he was probably hurt when he was hit in the head while colliding with the Boston Bruins’ David Krejci during a 3-1 loss on Dec. 5.
He said “it didn’t feel like anything too major.”
He did not miss a shift, but later collided with Penguins teammate Chris Kunitz near center ice. He sat out the next two games, against Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.
Last Wednesday, Crosby met with a doctor and passed the standard concussion assessment test, called the ImPACT test. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the doctor did not see indications of a concussion.
However, Crosby experienced concussion-like symptoms — including headaches — after light workouts last weekend. He said he was not sure whether the symptoms were a result of a new concussion.
Robin Green, senior scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Canada Research Chair in Traumatic Injury, said it was not unusual for Crosby to still feel symptoms after passing an ImPACT test.
“All of our clinical tests have very limited sensitivity,” she said. “People can look perfectly intact, including on the ImPACT test he took. Part of the big problem of figuring out when it’s safe for an athlete to return to play is our tests lack sufficient sensitivity to tell us that a person is completely recovered.”
Green added that it was unclear “whether the brain ever fully resets” after a concussion.
Crosby played eight games and had 12 points in his comeback, including two goals in his first game back on Nov. 21 against the Islanders — the only ones he had scored.
In a video on the Penguins’ Web site, Crosby said he “just didn’t feel right” when he skated the day after the Boston game.
“I have to make sure with these sort of things that I’m careful,” he said. “You have to listen to your body.”
Crosby said he felt better than he did when he was recovering this summer. He practiced for a month before he was cleared to return.
“I’m way better off than I was dealing with this stuff 10 months ago or whenever it was,” he said.
However, for now, the comeback of the best player in hockey has been derailed.