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Primeau: Pens' Crosby showing true courage

A minority of NHL fans are using social media outlets to question Penguins star Sidney Crosby's toughness because of his refusal to play with concussion symptoms.

Former NHL standout Keith Primeau, whose career was ended prematurely by concussions, is coming to Crosby's defense and believes his behavior is heroic.

"Sidney Crosby is an ambassador for people who have brain injuries and who have endured head trauma," Primeau told the Tribune-Review late Monday.

"People are looking up to his courage as we speak."

Primeau, who was drafted two spots ahead of Jaromir Jagr in 1990, played 14 NHL seasons before being forced into retirement at 34 because of multiple concussions. He is the co-founder of www.stopconcussions.com , a website designed to help the prevention of concussions.

Primeau appreciates that Crosby has displayed the prudence to temporarily halt his return from a concussion. Dealing with headaches for more than a week, Crosby isn't going to play until he is 100 percent healthy.

"For me and my quest," Primeau said, "seeing Sidney do the right thing is special."

Primeau said that many hockey players make the decision to play through dangerous concussions, and that Crosby has become a wonderful role model for his decision to put his health first.

"The culture we're brought up in with the hockey world just tells us to play through injuries," Primeau said. "That may seem like courage, but it really isn't. This is an injury that can be debilitating. The fact is, Sidney had the courage to speak up when something wasn't right. Good for him. Maybe people don't realize it, but that's a true sign of courage. It really is."

Primeau was at his son's hockey tournament in New Jersey when he heard the news on Monday that Crosby was out indefinitely because concussion symptoms had returned.

The news was jarring.

"I know how difficult that road is and how frustrating that scenario is," Primeau said. "Even though he's having a setback, which isn't good, I think he's still managing everything in the appropriate manner. I'd like to think and hope that his road is different than mine."

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