Former Flyer, current player development coach and all-around good guy Ian Laperriere completed an Ironman on Sunday, despite suffering an apparent setback in his recovery from a career-ending concussion.
About two weeks ago, the 39-year-old fell off his bike while training for the Ironman, leaving him with symptoms similar to those associated with post-concussive syndrome.
Lappy has always been tough, so it's no surprise that he competed in - and completed - the Ironman North American Championship at Mont-Tremblant (Quebec) in 12 hours, 11 minutes, 55 seconds. That finish was good for 124th of 258 finishers in the men's 35-39 division.
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Laperriere had arrived in Mont-Tremblant, about a 90-minute drive northeast from his hometown of Montreal, last week to prepare for a race he wasn't sure he would be able to take part in. During a final training ride near his home in southern New Jersey, Laperriere skidded on wet railroad tracks and fell off his bike, and told NHL.com late last week, "I hurt my neck. I'm moving fine, but I got those headache symptoms that I know too well."
Laperriere had trained for more than six months for his big moment, and said the possibility of missing the race was "depressing."
However, he said he had been receiving positive feedback from his long-time chiropractor, Martin Jolicoeur, who also is an Ironman competitor.
"I drove [to Montreal] a week before the race to see my chiropractor, who's been treating me for 20 years," Laperriere told NHL.com on Monday. "He told me all along that it wasn't a concussion, it was whiplash with the stress of the event and that's why I had those headaches. But it was the same feeling. In the back of my mind, I feel like I had a concussion -- same headaches, same thing. That's why I was depressed. My doctor told me all along that I'd be fine and he was right on.
"I started the race and the pressure was off. I just felt great the whole day, other than the cramps at the end. But my head was fine the whole day."
The treatment worked well enough for him to complete the 2.4-mile swim in 1:13:00; the 112-mile bike ride in 5:42:56; and 26.2-mile run in 5:05:21.