NHL Power Brokers to Meet

As the weather warms that means the General Managers of the NHL go south to Florida for the meeting of the minds.  Last year the Commissioner laid out a plan to help curb the concussion issue in the NHL with ideas that included: the quiet room, expansion of Rule 48 and increased penalties from Shanahan.

Where has that gotten the sport in relation to concussions; if you look by pure number it would be an actual increase, however I do believe those measures have indeed helped.  But there is more they (GM’s) and league can do, if they want to.  Part of fostering a game/sport is to realize that there needs to be changes, often ones that go against tradition and the good ol’ days.  People, including those that run hockey seem to forget that this game was not invented with today’s player in mind, the speed and skill has far outgrown this pastime, change is inevitable.

What can the NHL do to make the concussion issue better – don’t ask the Deputy Commissioner; Continue reading

NHL Taking It Slow: Commentary

As the general managers meet in Florida for the last day, what has come from the meeting the past two has been “tightening of the ship.”  Rather than take sweeping changes and possibly modifying the game to ends that make the owners and their proxy, general managers, uneasy the standards/statements made thus far have at least let us know they are fully aware.  And it has shown that money or fear of losing money drives the ship.

On Monday the league announced that the protocol for a player showing concussion signs will be removed from the bench for a thorough evaluation by a doctor.  I opined that this was a good first step, what I didn’t mention was that I didn’t like how the connotation from the media and even the league that the athletic trainer may be at fault.  Taking the player from the bench is a “no-brainer”; the instinct to hop the boards when your shift is called far outweighs the honest answers a player may be inclined to give to the athletic trainer behind the bench.  Also, removing the player from outside influences, say peers and coaches, makes this move both warranted and good “window dressing.”  This particular move does nothing for the player that will give dishonest answers in an effort to return to the game, the hopes are that using the SCAT2 model, to the ‘T’, will identify more concussions.  Is it a move in the right direction?  Yes!  Just remember before others go on a rampage saying the athletic trainer would not be qualified to do this; the SCAT2 was developed by and for athletic trainers to use, on a hockey bench there is neither the time or space to do such an evaluation.  Part of the umbrage I take as well is the influences of the coaches, peers and players themselves when the injured is still on the bench.  The athletic trainer has never been viewed as an overriding authority on the bench/sidelines in professional sports, which is a shame because that is their profession and that is what they are trained to do.

On Tuesday, there was no move by the league to ban hits to the head, like the IIHF and OHL have done.  Rather the league will enforce Continue reading

High Profile Rugby & NHL Announcement Part 2 & Crosby

The International Rugby Board instituted greater safety for concussed players by updating their protocol.  The trouble is, we cannot find a text of exactly what this new protocol is.  Nevertheless the IRB changes are being tested this week by Ireland player Eoin Reddan;

Reddan lasted less than two minutes of the defeat to Wales on Saturday after suffering a concussion just 60 seconds into the game at the Millennium Stadium.

Although he is recovering well he will have to see a neurologist this week as part of the concussion management under the IRB concussion ‘Return to Play’ protocols.

While Reddan has not been ruled out of the England match, Ireland have been boosted by Tomas O’Leary’s return to fitness following a back problem.

We can see that constant monitoring of the injured, along with further clearance from a neurologist is part of this protocol.  Reddan is most high profile athlete to take part in the new IRB ‘rules’ with concussions.  It will be interesting to see how Reddan and rugby deal with this.  The next match, versus England, is scheduled for Sunday.

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The NHL further broke down their stats Continue reading

That Was Fast

Gary Bettman announced after the first session of GM meetings in Florida that the NHL will now adopt a more rigorous protocol for players exhibiting concussion symptoms.

Under the new protocol, any player showing concussion symptoms must be examined by a doctor in the locker room. Until now, an examination on the bench by a trainer was the minimum requirement.

Bettman said the league also will study using smaller equipment and making the playing area safer. He said other rule changes might emerge from the meetings, which conclude Wednesday.

Kudos for getting the players off the ice and get them examined.  The Gravboski incident may have never occurred if this were in place weeks ago.  However this situation would not have changed the Crosby situation as his first head injury occurred at the end of the second period and went to the locker room.  It is assumed that IF Crosby told the medical staff that he had concussion symptoms he would have been evaluated.

This is a good start; now to get the players on board with reporting the issues…

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