Hit in the head

Two players describe concussions they suffered.

Phil Magistrale

During the final three minutes of play on Jan. 21, 2011, Phil Magistrale, a 23-year-old defenceman for the Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo, received a hit from the Captain of the Guelph Gryphons. 

"He jumped me from behind and drove his elbows and hands into me,  and my head was forced into the glass. It was a really dirty hit," recalls Magistrale.  

The Laurier defenceman fell to the ice and didn’t move for several seconds.  A brawl broke out as his team-mates jumped to his defence, but Magistrale remained on the ice unmoving. 

"Waking up, the trainer was there and I wanted to get myself to the bench," says Magistrale. 

Magistrale spent the next two weeks dealing with his concussion.  The Guelph Captain, who delivered the blow was suspended for three games.  Here is footage of the hit, with Magistrale describing the experience in his own words.

Ashley Cotugno

Ashley Cotugno is 16 years old and she has a passion for playing hockey.  She’s been playing since she was 5 years old.  She's a winger for the Clearview IceCats Midget A Hockey Team in Barrie, Ontario. She’d never missed playing a game — she didn’t want to let her team-mates down — until after she got a concussion on Jan. 14. 

"I got body-checked and my head went into the boards. I felt really light-headed but I kept playing to finish up the game," she says. 

Cotugno says the referee didn’t see the hit that drove her into the boards.

"I just thought it was a bump on the head, but the next day I had an awful headache. I was out from that Monday and I missed exams at school. I was having a really hard time focusing. I haven’t played hockey since."

Now Ashley, still doesn’t miss going to the games but just stands near the glass and watches her team-mates.  

"It terrifies me thinking I might not be able to play hockey for a long time yet," she said. "It sucks!"