When T.J. Oshie was held out of the last four games with an “upper-body injury”, many believed it to be an aggravation of the shoulder problems he had dealt with earlier this season. Last night in a post-game interview for NHL Tonight (h/t Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post for pointing it out), teammate Justin Williams let it slip that Oshie had suffered a concussion the last time the Capitals had faced the Philadelphia Flyers. This led to some animosity between the two clubs, and Williams fighting with Nick Cousins early in the game.
Oshie is no stranger to head injuries, having suffered a concussion in 2014 that kept him out of the lineup for two weeks. He even once joked that the Columbus goal-cannon almost “gives you a concussion every time, especially if you’ve had concussions in the past.” He’s taken head shots before too, though the time Marco Scandella hit him in 2014 he returned to the game after a period.
The Capitals’ winger returned to action last night against those same Flyers, playing over 19 minutes in his first game back. Obviously over the concussion symptoms, it will be something to watch for the rest of the season as players are often more susceptible after suffering multiple brain injuries. It will also be interesting to see if he immediately returns to his high-level of performance from this season, which has brought about 43 points in 51 games.
This comes at a time when the league is embroiled in a lawsuit surrounding the protection and care of their current and former athletes in regards to head injuries. Rick Westhead of TSN has covered this story from the beginning, with his latest entry surrounding the battle between the league and Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist that was integral in the NFL’s battle with CTE; Omalu’s story was also adapted into the Hollywood film Concussion, released in 2015.