Archive for September, 2011
Friday, September 2nd, 2011
With the NHL and really the whole country mourning the death of Wade Belak, another career is about to resume.
18-year-old Ben Fanelli is returning to the ice for the Kitchener Rangers for the first time in two years after taking a
viscious hit to the head from Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas. Fanelli was left with a cracked skull and a severe concussion that had him in intensive care as well. Liambas was suspended for the remainder of the season, which ended his OHL career.
Here’s the hit:
Fanelli, though took the high road after the hit and kept quiet about his thoughts on the check and instead became a huge advocate for brain injury awareness and lead the charge to inform people about his Head Strong campaign, which was also supported by his two possible former teammates Ryan Murphy(Carolina) and Gabriel Landeskog(Colorado) who were selected in the first round of last June’s entry draft.
The Oakville, Ontario native’s decision to return to the game he’s played for most of his young life surprises me because being a supporter of brain injury awareness would have him very invested in the recent NHL headlines over the last two weeks. Obviously the tragedy that took place with Belak would have anyone thinking about their future in the game, but just a day before Belak took his own life Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced that center Marc Savard wouldn’t be back for the 2011-2012 campaign and maybe even forever due to post concussion symptoms. Add in the rumors about Sidney Crosby and his setbacks with concussion problems and you have to start to wonder if Fanelli is making the right decision?
I understand that it’s a dream to one day play in the NHL for Fanelli and I respect and admire him for his perseverance, but as our newest member of Sportsnet Radio THE FAN 590 Mike Farewell found out in a interview with Ben’s mom Sue Fanelli. Mom isn’t absolutely on board with his return.
This hits home for me and by no means is my story even close to the level of pain the Fanelli family went through. When I was 15-years-old I dislocated my shoulder playing AAA hockey for the North Central Ontario Predators. I tried to rehab it without surgery and returned for the final game of our season and dislocated it again. This meant I had to go under the knife to repair it. Because I didn’t let it heal properly it was going to be tough for the surgeon to repair it enough so I could play contact hockey again. Luckily for me, my surgeon was great and fixed me up enough that with lot’s of rehab I would be able to return. After a year of rehab I was back, this time playing with the Markham Islanders.
What changed the most about my hockey career after the injury was off the ice for me. After 11 years of long road trips, bad arena coffee and early morning practices my mom wasn’t so eager to watch me like she once did. I know my injury is very minor compared to what Fanelli went through, but what isn’t different is the idea of the person that brought you into the world being scared of seeing you in pain again.
Sue Fanelli is always going to support her son in whatever he wants to pursue, that’s what makes her a great mother, but does that make it fair she has to watch in fear?
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