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SYLVESTER'S BLOG: DANGERS OF FIGHTING

Tuesday, 12.16.2008 / 2:39 PM / Blogs - Kevin Sylvester
By Kevin Sylvester  - Sabres "Hockey Hotline" Host
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SYLVESTER\'S BLOG: DANGERS OF FIGHTING
Andrew Peters (Photo: Bill Wippert)
I was reading the blog of Ken Campbell of the Hockey News - whom I have great respect for and enjoy his work - about the unfortunate situation of Don Sanderson. 

Sanderson is the player in the Major Hockey League in Ontario, Canada that is fighting for his life after hitting his head on the ice following a hockey fight last week.  You can read Campbell’s blog by clicking here.

After reading this, I talked with Andrew Peters after practice. It was just a discussion, nothing on camera, although he said he would talk on camera if I wanted. 

It wasn’t necessary. I just wanted to know what he thought about the specific danger of hitting your head on the ice during a fight. 

Before I tell you what Peters had to say, it should be noted that neither of us have seen the fight or know the full circumstances.  We know what we’ve both read, that Sanderson was involved in a fight, his helmet came off, and his head struck the ice.  

I asked Peters if that was something he ever worried about.  His initial response was how sorry he was to hear that Sanderson is in a coma and fighting for his life. 

He also accurately predicted that there would be calls to get rid of fighting in hockey, which there have been by many writers and hockey observers for years.  

Peters did say that every fighter in the NHL knows the risks involved with their role.  He didn’t put that lightly either. He said he knows he puts his career and more on the line every time he does his job. 

Experience matters too. Peters is very aware of the dangers of hitting his head and with most scraps ending with both players down on the ice, you have to be ready.  He will tuck his chin to his chest or turn his head to the shoulder away from the ice when things start heading down to the ice. 

He’s learned that from experience and thinks most of the other fighters in the league are wise to it too.  

It was an interesting conversation with him and one that I know he wouldn’t mind me sharing with the fans.  I could also tell he wasn’t 100 percent comfortable talking about the possibilities - but who would be?

I used to cover NASCAR and I got the same reaction when talking with a driver about the possibility of …well you know. 

I like fighting.  It brings energy and entertainment, two things all sports promise to deliver to fans.  I hope all fighters are aware of the dangers and take the same measures Peters does if a fight doesn’t go according to plan. 

As for Don Sanderson, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Feel free to email me your thoughts / questions.

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