Little did we know that a routine Flyers charity event in Philadelphia would be so enlightening.
Wednesday night, the Flyers Wives Fashion Show was hosted by Lauren Pronger, the wife of injured Flyers captain Chris Pronger. At the event, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia caught up with Mrs. Pronger, and she talked openly about her husband's struggles with concussion symptoms. Those symptoms led the Flyers to rule Pronger out for the season and playoffs a month ago.
Lauren Pronger's words should not be taken lightly. For those who don't have any way of understanding the seriousness of concussions, or the problems that they create, it's quite an eye-opening interview.
"It's a tough go at home," she said. "We're going day-to-day right now -- good days, bad days. It's been a lot of trauma going on. We're just praying right now. He's battling. He wants to be out there more than anybody. It's tough for all of us to watch him go through this."
The most telling portion of the interview -- which runs less than two minutes -- comes towards the end. The reporter references a conversation with former Flyer Keith Primeau at the Winter Classic Alumni Game, where Primeau -- who had four known concussions during his career -- talked about that day being a "good day."
Lauren Pronger nodded affirmatively as the reporter talked, then said her experience with Chris has been similar. She noted that she'd like to see her husband have more than one good day at a time.
Just a few months ago, Chris Pronger was one of the top defensemen in the NHL. He had a stellar playoff in 2010, helping the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final, and he was poised to show that an injury-riddled 2010-11 season was nothing but a bump in the road.
He never got that chance. After initially missing two weeks when a Mikhail Grabovski stick caught him in the eye Oct. 24, Pronger played five games before the Flyers returned him to the shelf.
Though the team has ruled him out for the season, general manager Paul Holmgren is trying to leave the door open.
Holmgren had left the door open for Pronger to return this season, but said from what he's heard from Pronger, that doesn't seem feasible.
"I'm a glass is half-full kind of guy," he said. "I don't know. We'll see. I would say the odds of that happening aren't very good."
Given the struggles that much younger players like Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Jeff Skinner have had with concussions this season and in the past, there can be no assumptions made about Chris Pronger's future.
He'll be 38 around the start of next season. We can't even pencil him to Philadelphia's lineup. There's no way of knowing if he'll ever be able to play again.
If you need any evidence of that, go watch the Lauren Pronger interview again. She just wants him to be able to string together a couple good days, and in concussion vernacular, there isn't a terribly high standard for a good day. It certainly isn't enough to play professional hockey.
We don't know anything, really, about concussions. Most of us have never had one, and for those who have had one, it's probably not as serious as what Chris Pronger is going through.
(Full disclosure: I suffered a concussion in ninth grade. I felt fine two days later, so I really don't know what the Prongers -- or numerous others, sadly -- are going through.)
It's a dark life for those recovering from concussions, and not just because they're often bothered by light. It's made even darker by the fact that we still don't know much about the healing process.
Hopefully, the day comes -- and soon -- that non-Flyers fans are back to swearing at Pronger for the little things he does on the ice that infuriate opposing fanbases. Until then, we're stuck with nothing but uncertainty about the playing future of one of the better defensemen to ever play the game.