Last week was perhaps the saddest week of our lives. We took our 13 year old son to the neuro surgeon to have a consultation and testing regarding his multiple concussions. This is the son who went to New York and won the fastest skater in the USA out of 1,800 boys his age. He has played ice hockey since he was six years old. When he’s not on the ice, he’s on eBay looking at equipment to buy, playing mini-sticks in the loft or in our cul-de-sac playing street hockey.
You guessed it, his ice hockey career is over. It’s simply too risky. The doctor told us that he only clears players to play after two concussion IF they are going for a scholarship for college. Austin has had four, maybe five, concussions and is no longer cleared to play. We all cried for two days. It has been his dream to play in the NHL since he wore his Edmonton Oilers diaper shirts. Last June when Sidney Crosby held Lord Stanley’s Cup above his head, Austin said, “Well, I’ll be the second Crosby to hold it high!”
Austin is upset but seems to be dealing with it in a fairly grown-up disappointed fashion. He has started looking into other activities like cycling, flag football, possibly tiddly winks. Just kidding. He is super fast on skates so I suggested speed skating… but unfortunately he watched Apolo Ohno… and saw his uniform (read: unitard) and politely declined. Being his mother, I recommended ping pong or golf or tennis or ribbon dancing…. but no.
My husband took it even harder than Austin did. Rick loves hockey. He actually has Hockey Attachment Disorder, which simply means that I’ve been H.A.D. He has been coaching our boys’ teams for several years, but this year was really great… awesome parents, great kids, unity, FUN, and minimal drama. I’m thankful we ended on a good note, but sad that my men are so glum. Rick always assumed that he would be coaching his boys until college…. and now it’s over.
It’s not easy being a mom when you see your son’s dream taken from him. It’s not fair. And there’s no one to blame. We have been encouraging Austin with the idea that he will now be discovering another sport that he could be excellent at, that he wouldn’t have known about if he continued with hockey. This is not reassuring to him at this time, but I believe it’s true. He is a dedicated athlete nonetheless. I know of no other kid his age who has a self-imposed work out regime like his. Seriously, he’s ripped at 13!
The old cliché is true once again, when God closes a door, He opens a window. We’ll be looking through the windows for a while here.