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

Kelly Janveaux announces her candidacy for School Board Trustee

A long-time youth advocate, this will be Janveaux’s first time running in a public election

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

UPDATE: Anonymous tip leads DFO night patrol to Fraser River poachers

Charges pending after poachers arrested at night while fishing, 48 sockeye, harbour seal seized

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

1954-built trolleybus hits Vancouver roads for 70th anniversary

TransLink to offer free rides on a retrofitted electric trolley bus to commemorate anniversary

Most Read