During his career with the Vancouver Canucks, Trevor Linden become known for battling through injuries. Jim Robson’s famous call, “He’ll play on crutches!” during the 1994 Stanley Cup Final became a defining moment of Linden’s legacy.
It’s that legacy that makes Linden’s vulnerability in speaking about concussions so affecting in a video he shot with YWCA Metro Vancouver.
“I don’t remember the hit,” says Linden. “I remember everything leading up to it but nothing after…I still experience pain, mood swings — the headaches are debilitating.”
Only, it’s not quite what you think.
Thirty seconds into the video, there’s a twist. Linden isn’t talking about his own experience with concussions from playing professional hockey. Instead, he’s telling someone else’s story: a woman who suffered a concussion from intimate partner violence.
The video is part of a campaign by YWCA Metro Vancouver calling for more research into traumatic brain injuries as a result of intimate partner violence and to raise awareness and understanding of the threat of concussions outside of sports.
When most people think of concussions, they tend to think of athletes, particularly in contact-heavy sports like hockey and football. The YWCA is aiming to change that narrative, pointing out that, “For every NHL concussion, over 7,000 Canadian women, girls, and gender diverse people suffer concussions by an intimate partner.”
While concussions are a major issue in the NHL, there’s a significant difference in the type of support and care available to a professional athlete.
“NHL players have access to some of the best medical resources, but thousands of women may not have that same access,” says Linden on the YWCA website. “I’m honoured to stand alongside the YWCA to bring awareness to this issue and spark real, lasting, and meaningful change.”