After 2½ seasons with the Wheeling Nailers of the Double-A East Coast Hockey League and 34 games last season with Oklahoma City, Lord was prepared for a full year in the AHL, if not more.
“I wanted to prove to people that I deserved an NHL contract,” he said.
Since suffering the concussion, the recovery process has been slow and often frustrating. Lord has dealt with headaches, eyesight issues, various examinations. He recently started light workouts on the bike, which will complement contact drills and reaction-time tests. All will help verify whether an anxious hockey player can rejoin the teammates who have rocketed Oklahoma City to the best record in the AHL.
Even then, Lord's rough-and-tumble style of play could cause a reoccurrence of concussion symptoms.
“I love hockey. I love to play hockey, and I want what's best for the team,” Lord said. “But with concussion awareness becoming so big and what they know now about brain injuries, I want to be 100 percent before I play. I don't want to suffer any long-term effects.
“It used to be that guys would get their bell rung and play through it. The tests they give now for concussions, they're a good thing. And guys are being more honest now about how they feel. You're not going to see many guys play through it because of what might happen in the long term.”