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Staal: Headaches continue, but shorter, less severe

Marc Staal, who practiced did not scrimmage today, said post-concussion headaches are continuing at night after workouts, although they are less severe than last summer.

“When I first started working out in the summer, I couldn’t get through a workout without getting a headache,” said Staal, who was felled by a high hit from his brother Eric of the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 22. “I’ve been improving over last two, three weeks, I hope it keeps going in that direction…I feel no symptoms if I don’t do anything. If I push myself really hard, more often than not, I’ll get a headache.”

Staal, who is being held out of scrimmages and at least pre-season games as a precaution, and was sent home yesterday, said he felt good today. “I felt fine going through the workouts, we’ll see where it goes,” the 24-year-old said in his first remarks since the concussion was revealed.

Acupuncture treatments in the last couple of weeks “seems to have helped quite a bit with the headaches,” said Staal, who experienced no other symptoms, such as nausea. He passed a baseline neurological test on Friday. “I had a little bit of a headache after the first day of camp; they’re been taking a lot longer to come.”

Asked what the doctors have told him, Staal said: “Patience… it’s kind of a tricky area to predict. Right now, I’ve been improving with working out and working hard…It depends on the length and intensity of workout, sometimes later in the day I’ll get a headache and it’s last four or five hours, sometimes it’ll last one hour, that’s the way it’s been going the last couple weeks.”

Eric, he said, is “not very happy about it. It is what it is. You can’t do anything about it right now.”

At the end of the season, Staal said the symptoms were “not this noticeable.
I never had a concussion before, and when you play 30 minutes a night you feel run down, you don’t feel that great to begin with, so at the time I wasn’t really concerned about it. I started to feel it a lot more after we got knocked out in the playoffs.”

There are no immediate plans to reach out to more concussion specialists, he said. “If things get progressively worse, I assume there would be some outreach." What's necessary for him to return?  "As soon as I can get a stretch in where I’m not getting headaches during workouts, then I’ll start playing games.”



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