UPDATE: BCHL gets a grip on hockey’s concussion problem

New app HeadCheck set a baseline for player health

When Kyle Wellwood first started playing hockey in the late 1990s, he didn’t even know what a concussion was.

“We didn’t even talk about concussions,” said Wellwood, who kicked off his hockey career in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe Junior B League before playing for the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Ontario league, which is a level below the B.C. Hockey League, had no concussion protocol.

While things have improved since then, with the implementation of Hockey Canada’s six-step return-to-play protocol, players can, and still do slip through the cracks.

The BCHL is hoping to stop that through a new partnership with the app HeadCheck, which will allow coaches and athletic therapists to assess a player’s condition in 5-10 minutes. If the test shows negative results, the player will be pulled from the game and assessed by a medical professional.

RELATED: Nanaimo Clippers to form society and stay in Nanaimo

“It’s a way of standardizing the process and making sure we have record of this as a league,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale.

Players will now all undergo baseline concussion testing before they ever set foot in an arena.

“We’ve seen situations where players can be lying down after a hit, carried off, and next thing we know they’re back in,” said Grisdale. “This isn’t going to stop that, but coaches and trainers have to be accountable for the decision made to put [that player] back in.

“If the trainer says, ‘I told him to stay out,’ [the] player said he wanted to go in, and [the] coach said go back in – well, then we have a problem.”

It’s a stark contrast to Wellwood’s hockey playing days.

“It was wake up and go,” he said. “You just wanted to play so you waited till you could physically skate and then you played.”

Surrey Eagles coach Brandon West sees it as a promising step, but admitted he didn’t think anything could fully solve hockey’s concussion woes.

RELATED: Brandon West named Surrey Eagles’ new head coach

“We’re never going to put an athlete in a situation where their health is in jeopardy,” said West. “But if I had a dollar for every time someone had their bell rung and didn’t get tested…”

Added Grisdale: “There are always ways to fool the baseline test. The reality is we hope we are one step better than we were last year.”

PHOTOS: HeadCheck, the app:


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Ladysmith woman who jumped from ferry meets rescuers

A local artist who survived five hours in the frigid waters of… Continue reading

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Ladysmith woman fundraises for sister, family left homeless by Chemainus fire

A Ladysmith woman is raising money for family members left homeless after… Continue reading

Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery hosting author events this weekend

A children’s book author who also played an orangutan in The Planet… Continue reading

Massive Monday morning fire destroys Chemainus home

Firemen on the scene at Waynes Road for several hours

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Anderson extends invitation to Liberal voters

Interim B.C. Conservative party leader invites “disenfranchised Liberal voters” to join his party

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

Putin accuses US agencies of manipulating doping testimony

Putin said the former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director is “under the control” of the American agencies

Most Read