Kicking the cobwebs

Noel Prefontaine is prepared to be in uniform for his club's biggest game in 2007 after suffering...

Noel Prefontaine is prepared to be in uniform for his club's biggest game in 2007 after suffering another concussion. (SUN MEDIA FILE/David Lucas)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:46 PM ET

The Argos won't participate in the East final for another five days, but kicker Noel Prefontaine already knows there's an excellent chance his head won't completely be in it.

In a candid interview with a couple of reporters yesterday, Prefontaine laid bare how his life this past season has been dictated by a couple of concussions. It's not a pretty picture, but Prefontaine is prepared to be in uniform for his club's biggest game in 2007.

"I'm not going to be 100%," Prefontaine said at the U of T's Erindale campus. "It's a lack of focus, everything I need as a kicker, pretty much. There are going to be some mental lapses, and I am going to try to minimize them as much as I can and hopefully get in a groove come game time. It's an awkward feeling. People have to go through having a concussion to understand what I am talking about."

Prefontaine initially was injured in the season opener against the B.C. Lions and then got his bell rung again versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders just 10 days ago in the regular-season finale. Because of his concussions, he has had nausea, blurred vision and dizziness, and headaches have popped up out of the blue. As a result, it will affect Prefontaine's job.

"The position I play I can refrain from certain physical contact," said Prefontaine, who usually does not shy away from using his body in games for things other than booting the football. "If I played another position I would not be cleared.

"I am not that concerned with it, but I don't like the way it feels. I don't plan on giving it to myself again (after initiating a hit on one of the Roughriders). It's not fun."

Argos coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons was not thrilled the issue of Prefontaine's head woes was raised yesterday, but it seems clear the Argos would not be using Prefontaine if they were worried about his long-range health.

Clemons said other options have been explored regarding bringing in a replacement for Prefontaine, but the team will stick with him.

"He is going to be playing from what our understanding is, and if that changes, we will revisit (a replacement)," Clemons said. "I would appreciate if this is the last time we talk about it this week. The more we talk about it the more challenges I am going to have in my kicker's head."

But Prefontaine had no trouble discussing it.

"I have felt better in some weeks than in others, but this is the (unpredictable) concussion world I am assuming," the 33-year-old California native said.

"Twice this year I have an understanding of what to expect. At times it can make you feel like a different person. It's not funny."


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