A new concussion evaluation protocol should help players, with coaches and trainers able to quickly determine whether a player should be pulled out of a game. Photo Black Press

A new concussion evaluation protocol should help players, with coaches and trainers able to quickly determine whether a player should be pulled out of a game. Photo Black Press

BCHL gets a grip on hockey’s concussion problem

New app HeadCheck set a baseline for player health

Hockey players have started talking seriously about their risk of concussion. But even 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 the gap 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.”

It as a promising step, “We’re never going to put an athlete in a situation where their health is in jeopardy,” he said.

BCHL