DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Avalanche are playing well to start off their season, but center Peter Mueller has missed the last several games. The team hopes to get him back soon.
Whatever the setback is, it’s hoped that it is just temporary, because Mueller has already been through enough.
When the Avs traded for Mueller midway through the 2009-10 season, they thought they had hit the jackpot. He scored nine goals in his first 15 games as a member of the Avs. But on April 4 in a game against the San Jose Sharks, Mueller’s life changed.
“I remember I was going in grabbing a puck. I was going to come up that side of the boards there. All I felt was a push right to my back in a vulnerable position,” Mueller said.
Mueller said it was all just part of the game.
“It really is. I could stay and tell you that it was dirty and all that, but realistically it’s part of hockey,” he said.
Mueller suffered a concussion, and the symptoms didn’t go away.
“Basically the sunlight, any type of light, sound, music, TV, reading, newspapers; you name it,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t drive a car, I couldn’t read, I basically couldn’t talk, I was like a mute at some points.”
He didn’t play again that season. By the time training camp came around he was feeling well enough to play. But in a September preseason game he got hit again.
“It was just a scramble in front of the puck and it was the same thing, an accident. A guy whipped around with his stick and it hit me on the same spot where I went into the boards with the (Rob) Blake hit and it just triggered all of them.”
Mueller didn’t play at all in the 2010-11 season. Instead, he spent the entire year visiting doctors.
“I’ve seen numerous doctors. I’ve had to get therapy on my neck and the back of my skull. I’ve had to get therapy on my vertebrae … but mostly all in my neck, lower skull area. I had to get treatment on my jaw.”
At the age of 23 he knows how precarious his health is and he’s taking every precaution he can to stay safe, starting with a new helmet equipped with a tinted visor so the light won’t bother him.
“It’s very well padded compared to the one that I wore when I got hit by the Blake hit.”
Hopefully the helmet and the NHL crackdown on hits to the head will keep Mueller healthy throughout this season, but recently he’s been out and it appears he’s once again suffering from some concussion-related problems.