Sven Baertschi explains the difficulty he's having dealing with concussion

Nov 22 2018, 8:24 pm

Sven Baertschi has been out of the Canucks’ lineup for nearly a month, causing him to miss 14 games, and he still has no idea when he’ll be able to return.

Suffering a concussion on October 24 in Las Vegas after he was hit in the head by Golden Knights winger Tomas Hyka, Baertschi is still feeling the effects of post-concussion syndrome.

Because the hit looked innocent enough, hearing the details of what Baertschi’s actually going through is a sobering reminder of how serious this injury is. The 26-year-old went into detail, speaking publicly about his head injury for the first time with Swiss-German language newspaper Blick this week.

“The eyes are the problem,” said Baertschi (thank you Google translate). “The puck is a bit hazy. That’s why it’s hard to play this way right now.”

Speaking on camera, you’d never know that anything was bothering the Swiss-born forward. And that’s what can be frustrating with concussions. Everything can seem fine one moment, but symptoms can return after exercising.

After feeling good for a few days, Baertschi says he returned to training for the first time last Saturday, but had to stop after 15 minutes because he was getting dizzy.

“There are different symptoms, depends on the day. Yesterday it was the eyes, but I also had a headache.”

Concussions have a compounding effect. Baertschi missed nearly a month of action in February 2017, when he was hit in the head by Cody McLeod in Nashville. The Hyka hit looked less violent, but Baertschi says it was the fourth or fifth concussion he has suffered in his career.

“Although he hit me on the head, at first I thought I could finish the match,” Baertschi said. “But then suddenly I felt so bad that I had to be examined by the doctor.”

Baertschi knows he needs to be patient with this injury and has extra incentive to do so. He got married to his long-time girlfriend Laura in Portland, Oregon and the couple is expecting their first child in April.

“If I returned to the game too soon after the injury, it could be more serious. And that’s too high a price for me, after all, I also want to be able to enjoy my life after my hockey career with my family.”

So although the Canucks have lost seven games in a row and desperately miss him, Baertschi’s right to listen to his body.

“A concussion can be cured after one and a half weeks, but it can take months. In this situation, I have no choice but to wait and think positive in spite of everything.”

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