HEAD KNOCKS: Zenon Konopka from the US and Canada's Kevin Harvey show the Ice Hockey Classic series in Australia is not just a bunch of friendly games. Quinn Rooney - Getty Images.
HEAD KNOCKS: Zenon Konopka from the US and Canada's Kevin Harvey show the Ice Hockey Classic series in Australia is not just a bunch of friendly games. Quinn Rooney - Getty Images.

David Booth says you're still tough if you rest a sore head

ICE HOCKEY: Toronto Maple Leafs star and left-winger David Booth knows a thing or two about the long road back from concussion.

Type in his name and "concussion" in your Google search.

You will then come across a gruesome high shot he copped by former Philadelphia Flyers forward Mike Richards, while playing for the Florida Panthers, during the first month of the 2009/10 NHL season.

The huge hit saw him spend the night in hospital and miss 45 games, the bad blood between both teams leading to four fights the next time they clashed.

This is why Booth's tour Down Under for the US in the four-game Ice Hockey Classic exhibition series against Canada - for the stopconcussions.com initiative - means a lot to him.

Stopconcussions.com is an educational portal that players, parents, coaches and officials can visit to seek information regarding concussions.

A stack of money has been raised for the initiative on this tour alone.

Booth has also had his fair share of injuries in one of the toughest sports in the world.

There have been significant shoulder, knee, ankle, foot and nose setbacks.

"My concussion happened about five years ago, and there wasn't much of an emphasis on recovery back then," Booth told APN.

"We've come a long way since though, in that it's okay to take the appropriate time off to recover from a brain injury before playing again.

"Concussion is still an injury we don't know much about."

While the Australian public has been highly generous in its support of the stopconcussions.com initiative, it has also embraced the action on the ice, which has been intense and of a high standard.

Booth's US side is down 2-1 going into the final game of the series at Perth Arena tonight.

The 30-year-old is a 502-game NHL veteran - who has had three seasons of 20 or more goals - in the toughest ice hockey competition in the world.

As one of the NHL stars currently Down Under, as well as the Buffalo Sabres' Jerry D'Amigo, and veterans Zenon Konopka and Garnet Exelby, Booth wants to leave these shores as a winner.

"Some players are very intense going into these games, and some are out here enjoying a different country," he said.

"But you want to win - that's in everyone's nature."

Booth, who scored seven goals from 59 games for the lowly Maple Leafs last NHL season, has taken to the Australian lifestyle, after playing his first game of the tour at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre last Saturday night.

"It's been really good - I've enjoyed some surfing and body boarding out here," he said.

"Australians are crazy about their sports and you could see that in Brisbane - it was loud there."


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