So far this season three players have tested positive for the H1N1 virus. Patient zero was Peter Budaj of the Colorado Avalanche, more recently Ladislav Smid of the Edmonton Oilers and today news of Quintin Laing of the Washington Capitals. Colorado and Edmonton have met recently, but this was after Budaj had already been quarantined. The Caps have yet to play either team, so this isn’t just cross contamination.
In an environment such as the NHL, players are in close quarters at numerous times. On the bench, in the dressing room, on the bus or plane. When they are at practices or games, they are sweating a great deal and some players like Khabibulin sweat enough to leave a trail behind them.
Should the players be required to take the flu shot yearly?
They are under contract to perform and if they take ill the team suffers. Similar to actors being insured by studios if an actor gets injured or worse. On the other hand, has enough testing been done with this vaccine and will it really help? I personally don’t think that it is something that can be forced on someone, and there are ways you can safeguard yourself. Primarily good hygiene. Keeping the hands clean and away from the eyes and nostrils, using sanitizer to disinfect.
The vaccine has just recently been approved in Canada for a strain that we still no little about. It’s only been through one season so far and that was over our summer in places like Australia. Is it really any different than other flus of the past that quietly take lives every year?
It’s still early in the season. Both hockey and the flu that is, so with many other players showing flu like symptoms, look for the numbers to go up. So next time you’re at the local watching a game, maybe think twice about that bowl of nuts and I shouldn’t have to tell you to wash up after a trip to the bathroom.
Keep things clean out there and stay safe.