Ever since Charlie McAvoy exited the ice with an apparent injury – later disclosed as a concussion by Bruins GM Don Sweeney – in Edmonton on Oct. 18, there has been radio silence from his camp as to both his recovery progression and the severity of the damage.
On Saturday night, during the first intermission of Boston’s home contest against Detroit, McAvoy broke his silence and addressed the media for the first time since his departure in western Canada.
The 20-year-old defenseman fielded a flurry of questions — that needed answers — upon his entrance to the ninth-floor media workroom at TD Garden. He appeared in good spirits while doing so, seemingly happy just being back in the swing of normal hockey operations.
McAvoy confirmed that this is his first concussion and that he has been dealing with a slew of symptoms but is progressing well. One of the main reasons for his extended absence has been retraining his brain since the symptoms subsided; he even went as far as to compare it to working out, stating that his brain was “out of shape.”
“There’s a plethora of concussion symptoms. When I first had it, it was kind of really overwhelming me. [But] as this process has gone, as I’ve worked with the trainers and the doctors, really doing concussion rehab, they have started to slowly fade away,” McAvoy stated about his road to recovery. “Obviously, I would have loved for it to happen faster, but this is where we’re at, and like I said, staying patient and staying positive is something that I’m trying to do my best with.
“As far as vestibular goes, it’s really kind of reteaching your brain to handle certain activities that can bring on certain [concussion] symptoms…So, this is basically that concussion rehab that I alluded to, reintroducing these things to my brain. Actually, one of the things I heard is my brain is out of shape. So, it’s kind of teaching those things – reintroducing them – and things are going well right now.”
McAvoy’s injury at first didn’t appear to be that serious; certainly, no one expected him to be out as long as he has been. The former Boston University star didn’t take a big hit or receive any dangerous contact to the head area. Yet, sometimes even the slightest bit of contact in the wrong spot can have its repercussions, as McAvoy is now experiencing first hand.
“It’s kind of weird; these things happen. One of the things I’ve learned is that…it’s not always a hit that, say, knocks a player out unconscious on the ice. It can be just a little blindside hit with the same effect – and sometimes worse,” McAvoy said.
“I think it’s one of those things [where] you don’t really expect anything. That’s one of the things I’ve learned…you just take it a day at a time and really just try and stay positive with these things, because it can definitely bring you down. Everyone has been good with keeping me up and keeping me in good spirits, and we’re getting there.”
The second-year Bruin has been quite the enigma and out of the public eye for most of this season. But his return to practice this week gave hope the promising youngster will suit up sooner rather than later.
All parties are handling the situation with the utmost sense of caution. McAvoy made it evidently clear that there is still no timetable for his return to action, and both he and the Bruins organization are taking things “day by day.”
Whether it comes in a week, a month, or two months, McAvoy’s return to the lineup will be of the utmost importance if the Bruins hope to contend against the rest of the Eastern Conference elite.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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