Five years into his NHL career, Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo has a sneaky scary concussion history to his name.
Carlo’s rookie season was ended by a concussion sustained on a hit from Alexander Ovechkin in 2017, Carlo suffered another one just before the pandemic pause in 2020 on an elbow from Florida forward Evgenii Dadonov, and suffered two in three months this past season, the first from Tom Wilson and then the second on a hit from Cal Clutterbuck.
That’s four in 50 months. Not what you’d consider the most encouraging timeline.
But speaking with reporters for the final time this season, Carlo, who missed the final three games of the B’s second-round series with the Isles and was unlikely to play in a potential Game 7, made it clear he’s not worried about his long-term health.
“No, not at this point, not at all,” Carlo said when asked if he’s concerned about his future. “I think this year was obviously a struggle through these injuries. It’s no fun, but I’m not going to sit here and get discouraged or think that my career is heading down a wrong path because of a couple concussions. I hope this is the last one of my career and hopefully I can play as long as possible, but for how I’ve recovered from these, I don’t feel like there’s any issue there.”
Carlo also noted that his bouts with any dizziness have started to subside, and that he feels like he’ll be 100 percent ready for next fall’s training camp. He also had no problem with the Clutterbuck hit. He even called it a ‘great hit’ that he took ’10 times a game’ from that team and added that Clutterbuck plays a hard game. (Carlo’s not the type to say it, but the way he praised Clutterbuck for the way he hit him almost felt illuminating in terms of how he felt about Wilson’s hit back in March.)
But available for just 27 of the B’s 56 games this season, between concussion woes and then an oblique injury suffered shortly into his return, and then knocked out in the middle of the second round, sitting on the sidelines was almost the norm for Carlo this season. That’s a whole lot of time to reflect on your career and where it’s potentially going.
“All of these certain situations have been difficult, but I’m thankful,” Carlo admitted. “When I sit here and I reflect on the situation, I have so much gratitude to be in the NHL. Through my faith, I’ve kind of been able to get pushed in the right direction of just appreciating the small things. Throughout this year, it’s been a lot of lessons, but good lessons to learn. The great thing I’ve also had is support around me. Obviously, Kevan Miller, I’m very close with him. He’s had these experiences a little more than I have. It’s good to have those guys to be able to communicate with and talk with.
“Like I said, lean on my faith and just continue on from there. I’m so excited for this summer to get going back at it right away. I don’t even want to take a break. I’m very frustrated with how little I was able to play this year and I think going forward, I just want to come out next year firing on all cylinders. I’m ready to get to work.”
Carlo, whose 324 appearances with the B’s are the fourth-most since 2016, is a restricted free agent this offseason.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.