Why Carey Price will never play hockey again

Why Carey Price will never play hockey again


Carey Price has yet to utter the word “retirement,” but the various doctors and surgeons surveyed by The Journal< strong> are unanimous: it would be very surprising to see the Montreal Canadiens goaltender, already 35 years old, put on his pads for a National Hockey League game one day.

“In the context where it is a question of Carey Price, the problem is his position as goalkeeper, that limits the possibilities a lot, first agrees Dr. François Marquis, specialist in sports medicine and orthopedist in the region of Quebec. He evolves in a position too demanding for what his knee can offer him. Let's say that for a high-level goalkeeper, it becomes a heavy order.” 

Even the surgery he was suggested, commonly known as OATS, would be far from a guaranteed success for the CH goalkeeper.   

“If Carey Price is there, it is very likely that all first-line treatments have failed, whether injections of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) or even stem cells,” said Dr. Simon Corriveau-Durand, a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery in Quebec, about the famous operation.  

A semblance of normal life

This surgical procedure is an osteochondral autograft. It also refers, in medical jargon, to mosaicplasty. 

“It's a bit like ice fishing, you take a core drill and you transpose the carrot elsewhere, popularizes Dr. Corriveau-Durand, who is associated with the CHU de Québec-Université Laval. You take it from a weaker area and put it where the load is greater. It's good for everyday life, but it's more difficult so that an athlete can resume his career.” 

“It is an operation that is more likely to succeed in a young person, which is the case of Carey Price. However, the autograft practiced by taking a carrot of bone and ligaments in a less stressed part already has a low success rate. Below 50%, specifies Alain Cirkovic, head of the surgery department of the CIUSSS Centre-Sud on the island of Montreal. It might be successful if it was to restore some semblance of normal life to someone. But to allow an elite goalkeeper at the highest professional level to find his game, it is practically impossible to foresee any success. 

Variable results < /strong>

Dr. Corriveau-Durand, a sub-specialist in body extremity surgeries, sometimes works with athletes at the Verdi private clinic in Quebec, but his clientele is made up more of the military. Performing mosaicplasty on the ankles himself, he draws a connection between the different profiles, explaining that athletes and members of the military each need to be at the top of their game as part of their regular duties. 

“When I perform such surgery on a soldier, it's like stealing a year of his life, illustrated the doctor-surgeon, consequently estimating the minimum duration of Price's absence in the event of an operation. And there is no guarantee that we will achieve a result comparable to the pre-injury state.” 

“Where my enthusiasm drops is that the results are unpredictable with such an intervention, we are talking about very variable results, indicated Dr. Louis-René Bélanger, orthopedic surgeon in Chicoutimi, showing himself perplexed by the 'OATS. There are also clients for whom we decide not to do anything as an operation and who, in the end, get better. The emotional component is always important in a patient.” 

Stay realistic

Like the other experts, Dr. Bélanger will not go so far as to comment on the moods of the Canadiens goalkeeper over the past few years. Price, however, possibly did not have the winning conditions met, he who also had recourse to the assistance program for NHL players. 

“You have to be realistic, concludes Dr. Corriveau-Durand, regarding a possible return to the game of Price. For a year, in addition to recovering from the operation, you don't block any pucks and you lose what I call your conditioning capital. 

Monday, during his press briefing , Price noted the importance of regaining one's health in order to be able to function in one's daily life, especially with one's children. This is the first step to take, the only one that should concern him at the moment. For the rest, patience is required in order to hope for a miracle.

– With the collaboration of Réjean Tremblay

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