Q: Looking back at the playoffs, was it wanting to play in a Final that led you to this, and do you regret it at all?
"I don't regret it. It's one of those things where the MRIs, everything was great, even the writing tests I did, everything was great, and I felt good. I went out there and I had headaches, but it's a hockey game. You get bumped around and you get headaches. That doesn't mean you have a concussion. I wanted to play, and I thought well, it's probably from my neck, I had neck issues in the past. I always found excuses. Maybe it was from me wearing a shield now and putting some strain on my neck. I always looked for something to explain my symptoms. But they didn't get any better in the summer, and it comes down to the real problem is probably coming from my head."
Q: Did the first preseason game cause any effects that led you to where you are now?
"Well, I didn't' feel right even skating with the boys before training camp started. It's one thing when you work out all summer and do your stuff. like I said, I was always finding a reason why I was feeling like that that day. Right before camp when I was skating with the other guys, I didn't feel 100 percent. I was always like, maybe I'm nervous for camp or maybe this, maybe that. But that first game, the New Jersey game, I didn't' feel myself out there. That's when I made my decision, when I was watching the game up in the press box in Toronto, just watching the game it kind of got me off a little bit, I didn't feel myself just because of the lights and everything. That's when I decided I had to talk to Jimmy and Homer, which I did the next day."
Q: Does the fact that a few months since it's happened and you're still dealing with these issues make you nervous that this might be a long-term thing?
"Yeah, maybe. Who knows. I risked it when I came on the ice and I didn't get popped again, maybe I did something - who knows. Nobody knows. That's why I put a stop to it. That's why I'm like, I can't risk my health out there more than I did already. I didn't want to go out there and get popped again or get hit again. That's my biggest fear. If I feel like that now, how am I going to feel the next time I get hit? Because the way I play, it's not if, it's when I'm going to get hit. That was one of my biggest fears. Now I think I made the right call by making sure I get better not only for hockey, but for the rest of my life."
Q: When will you go to Pittsburgh to see the doctor there?
Q: Did you talk to anyone else over the summer about this?
"No, you know what, I was still in denial this summer. That's the thing. I was lying to myself more than anybody. I feel bad that I didn't tell the Flyers, but to tell you the truth, I really thought I was 100 percent. I was feeling the symptoms, but I was finding excuses for every single one of them. At the end, I was lying to myself and to the Flyers."
Q: Did you confide in your wife at all about the headaches?
"Quite a bit. But again, I would say maybe I'm dehydrated, I should drink more, maybe I did too much today, maybe I didn't have enough sleep, maybe the dog woke me up. when you want to play, you're always finding excuses. I know there's people who are going to say he's crazy, why would you do that, but you have to put yourself in my shoes. I've been in this league a long time and I've never been close like I was last year. For sure that pushed me to play, especially when all the test results came back normal. I 'm like you know what, I'll deal with the headaches, I want to play so bad. I know some people are going to judge me on that, but they gotta be careful because they're not in my shoes and they'll never be in my shoes. They don't know what I went through all my life just to get there. For me to miss the opportunity to play in the semifinals and the finals, it would take a lot. Obviously it was a brain injury, but in my case all the tests came back normal and I felt pretty good, so I thought, I gotta go back. So some people are going to judge me, but oh well. That's my decision and I'll live with the consequences."
Q: Do you feel like this is your last chance to get this right?
"Yeah. There's no doubt in my mind I'm staying out till I'm 100 percent. What scares me the most is getting hit again, and what am I going to be next? Am I going to be a miserable guy? I don't want to be like that. I want to be myself when I leave this game. I feel like if I get popped again or hit again or punched. the way I play. I just can't be a 50-goal scorer. I'd love to, but I just can't change my game right now. I can't come back 90 percent, I've got to come back 100 percent."