Tag Archives: Concussions

Why Is Everyone Clapping?

If you want to skip all this and go straight to the awesome update at the end of the post you can click here.

Some people will say,  “You’re overreacting.”

Some people will say, “It’s part of the game.”

Some people will say, “It’s all in good fun.” 

I will tell every one of them that they’re wrong.

As some long-time readers of this blog will know I suffered a severe concussion
back in 2011 (to add on to the pile of other “less severe” head injuries, you know, the ones where I didn’t get knocked completely unconscious). I was off work for several months and it took me more than six months to get back to a level of function comparable to what I had before the accident. 

As my friends know I am against the idea of fighting in hockey at any level and whenever I take one of my kids to a Kitchener Rangers hockey game and a fight breaks out on the ice it makes by blood boil. There is absolutely no place for fighting in hockey, let alone junior hockey, where a good number of the players are under the age of 18. 

So, I guess what you are about to read is the inevitable reaction of a father and hockey fan who has finally had enough with the glorification of two athletes assaulting each other in front of thousands of adoring fans.

You could say the moment I snapped was one Saturday morning when I heard a promotion on 105.3 Kool FM for a contest they were running in association with the Kitchener Rangers and sponsored by Forbes Automotive. It’s a good promotion and I considered entering the contest… right up until I heard the line, “the hits… the fights…”

I wasn’t actually sure I had heard it correctly so I just filed it away until the next time it was aired. Sure enough, the next time I was listening and they played the promo I heard the line again, “the hits… the fights…” Suffice it to say I was nothing short of shocked. Were they actually promoting hockey fights? Were they actually promoting fights that involve kids under the age of 18?

First order of business: Posting to social media in hopes I would get areply. To date I have received none, and having heard the promotional spot countless times since it has come to this. I have resorted to the most extreme measure that an irate Canadian can possibly use.

I wrote a letter.

Jay Nijhuis, Promotions and Marketing Manager, 105.3 Kool FM
Murrary Hiebert, General Manager, Kitchener Rangers 


Jason Stainton, General Manager, Forbes Waterloo Mazda (sponsor)
David E. Branch, Commissioner, Ontario Hockey League  
Letters to the Editor, The Kitchener Record
Brain Injury Association of Canada


Fight Club

Mr. Nijhuis and Mr. Hiebert,

I am writing to request the recent Kitchener Rangers “KooLest Seats in the House” radio promotion be taken out of advertising rotation immediately, or at a minimum, the voice over changed to something more appropriate. 

The rationale for this request is quite simple. I believe the wording promotes violence, specifically violence by, and toward, teenagers.  
I am an avid listener of 105.3 Kool FM and I attend anywhere between 8 and 10 Kitchener Rangers hockey games each season and I take my 11 year old daughter or my 7 year old son to most of the games. Now, it is possible that my previous experiences with concussions have made me more sensitive to the issues of head trauma in hockey (I’ve had at least 4 concussions) but I don’t think I’m out of line in admonishing Kool FM and the Kitchener Rangers for airing a promotion that highlights the fights that we can look forward to the next time we attend a hockey game.
The last two games I attended with my children there were fights in first five minutes of the game. On the one occasion my son, who is just starting to understand some of the rules, asked me why everyone was clapping after the fight. On the other occasion my daughter had to look away because the sight of two teenage boys punching each other in the face upset her (as it should, would you not agree?) 
Let’s not forget that these hockey players are also kids! In case you haven’t counted there are currently 12 players on the Kitchener Rangers roster that are under the age of 18. I’m left to wonder how it is you can justify promoting fights between underage hockey players? 
An even better question: 
How do you think the parents of the younger players feel about you encouraging the public to come out and pay to see their 16 year old’s get into a fight and risk their future as hockey players as well as possible brain injuries?
Suffice it to say that, at best, the promotion as it currently stands highlights a terrible error in judgement by the marketing and promotions staff involved. At its worst it is a call for people to not just witness, but enjoy, teenage violence that doesn’t belong – on or off the ice.

The promotion could have easily been worded, “The hits… the goals…” instead of “The hits… the fights…” and as such I ask that you re-think the words chosen for this promotion or pull it from the radio outright. 

I further encourage everyone involved to issue an on-air apology to the players and fans and make a donation to the Brain Injury Association of Canada or other applicable not-for-profit organization. 

Andrew F. Butters


Within a couple hours of sending my email and posting this I have received several emails from Kool FM and the Kitchener Rangers!

First, Kool FM informs me the script would be revisited tomorrow:

Click image to read

Then, I received an email from the COO of the Kitchener Rangers indicating he would be following up tomorrow as well, and reiterating his commitment, and the commitment of the OHL and CHL to reducing fighting in their games:

Click image to read

Finally, I received an email from the Program Director at Kool FM (after I replied to their original reply) informing me that neither Forbes Automotive nor the Kitchener Rangers were involved in the wording and approval of the script (good on Kool for owning up!) and that it has been re-written and will be re-voiced and produced on Monday:

Click image to read

If all this isn’t a whole pile of win I don’t know what is. Naturally, there are a few douchecanoes over at Reddit /r/hockey that are downvoting the link to this post but what’s a guy to do? One step at a time.

~ Andrew

Frame of Mind

I find it fascinating to watch people in the process of creating. I don’t know why this is but I think it has something to do with the fact that I have my own special brand of “getting in the mood” and I’m looking for some sort of validation that I’m normal.  More and more lately I suspect that I am not.

I was on the phone with my wife and she was telling me to get some words done while she was out and the kids were asleep. Sage advice from a woman who knows me very well and wants me to finish this damn book. The only problem was that I was exhausted from a week of working the day job and I wasn’t in the mood to write. Plus, with only 13,000 or so words left in the novel I was beginning to realize that an outline would have been a good idea. These were some of my notes for unfinished chapters:

  • Insert some stuff about the police in here doing police-type things
  • Hint a bit more about extreme nefariousness
  • Peter and Dana come across some disturbing shit

This is going to win me Kafka Prize, I can feel it.

Franz Kafka

As someone with a history of traumatic brain injuries I can attest to the fact that sometimes the best ideas are the ones that come to you when you’re head is not on straight. Out in the real world they are usually called “bad ideas” and people end up losing their jobs, or their loved one, or their friends; but for creators a bad idea is still salvageable – it’s just going to take a little bit of creativity.

A while back I did a post about giving birth to ideas; a process that in my opinion is significantly less interesting compared with what actually happens when someone starts to work on that idea and begins to flesh it out and bring it to life.

For most people, getting into a creative mindset is nontrivial, and for some finding the Creativity Zone is almost as elusive as finding the G-spot (only the Creativity Zone actually exists). You may be thinking, “But it looks like people do it effortlessly” Well these people are few and far between. They are amazing to watch and invaluable to interact with to be sure, but they are definitely a rare breed. For the rest of us schleps, finding the right frame of mind is a fair amount of work – just like anything else.

Frame of Mind (I know, I know…)

Even one of the most creative minds on the planet will tell you that there’s a process to it, that it doesn’t just appear out of thin air like a catapulting cow that’s just been hurled over the wall of a castle. If you have 36 minutes you should watch the John Cleese on Creativity video. It completely changed the way I approach things. If you don’t I’ll sum it up for you:

If you’ve got a nice quiet place to work, about 90 minutes, and access to some like-minded creative people then you’ve got what you need to foster a good amount of creativity.

This brings us to my problem from the second paragraph of this article. Exacerbating it is the fact that there are very few moments in a day where I have all those things at the same time. The best I can do most days is have the kids asleep, a couch to sit on, the Internet on my laptop, and 120 minutes before I go to bed. The other night it turns out that this was close enough.

What I did then, was sit by myself with my manuscript open in one window and YouTube and Facebook in another. My cursor was set to the part of my story that was in need of attention. Then, I watched a good half an hour of Louis CK stand up comedy. This guy is really funny and I find that laughing out loud has a way of relaxing the mind. Then I hit up a friend on Facebook who had a few minutes to spare. We chatted for a bit and just tossed random silly ideas back and forth. The last one I came up with went something like this:

“I think I’ll write a story about a window washer. A transsexual window washer who doesn’t use scaffolding but instead floats down from the roofs of buildings on one of those big Cirque du Soleil velvet ropes, squeegee in hand, washing the windows and winning the hearts of big city Dallas.”

All he needs is a squeegee


I had been reading something about transsexuals recently and my story takes place in Dallas. There was that Cirque person who tragically died a while back during a show, so that was probably in the back of my mind as well. As for the window washing, I can’t explain it. I think I just like the word squeegee.



Once I hit that point I was off to the races and I flipped over to my MS and just started typing. I guess it worked because 24 minutes later I had more than 700 words on the page and was still going strong (anyone who has done NaNoWriMo knows that this is a pretty good clip).

So there you have it. One example of what it took to get from “I’m not in the mood to write” to real life words on a page. I hereby dub it The Squeegee Process™. Is is fascinating? Probably not to most people, but it works for me, multiple concussions and all.

If you have a creative process you’d like to share please comment below. I’d really like to know that I’m not alone.

~ Andrew

Helmets Help. Period.

Well the coroner’s report came out with a recommendation to mandate helmets for all people riding bikes. As soon as I read the article I knew all the crazies would come out of the woodwork. You’re stomping on our rights! It’s more dangerous walking down the street – mandate helmets for that!

Well, having suffered quite a few brain traumas in my lifetime I tend to take an interest in these “discussions”. I put the word in quotes because the way I see it there’s really no argument. A bike helmet likely saved my life. It absolutely prevented a serious injury. Not having one on while riding a bike seems like a ridiculous notion. But that’s just me – and a few hospitals few of other people.

I had a grand idea for a blog post about my position on this so I could share it with those of you who don’t have me as a friend on Facebook (where it was written in several comments to a FB friend with vastly different opinions on the matter). Then, his last comment sealed the fate of this post. Regarding a law that requires helmets for cyclists: “I’ve got a beef with helmet legislation without data to back it up.”

That got me thinking, and I asked him point blank: what’s the magic number? What data has to exist for it to be OK? Who gets to set that threshold? I would argue that the fine doctors who get to see all the patients (dead and alive) would have a pretty good idea, and they seem to think it’s the way to go. I’m sure it’s all just a clever rouse though, you know, to get more people into the ER and funding their research. Oh wait… they’re recommending helmets and suggesting that FEWER people will pass through their walls, freeing up valuable resources and people for other less preventable injuries? Their data is bullshit and they must be up to no good.

All sarcasm aside I only have one point to say and that is this:
A cyclist wearing a helmet is safer than one without.