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

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP looking for missing woman

Angela Marie Mitchell, 35, was last seen on May 16

Performing in ‘Mamma Mia!’ all summer is dream come true for two actresses

They’ve been friends for years, and now Roth and Burke get to play friends onstage

Drivesmart column: Turning right at a Sechelt four-way-stop

Passing on the right is forbidden in this circumstance but that does not stop many drivers.

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Coming up in Cowichan: From bike rodeo to ‘A Word About Consent’, lots on the calendar

Christian Science event coming to Duncan Saturday, May 25 “Breaking News: Freedom… Continue reading

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Most Read