5-Point Plan To Reduce Concussions
Monday, 03.14.2011 / 4:22 PM ET / News
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Here is the action plan NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman laid out at the start of Monday first session of the General Managers Meetings:
-- Brendan Shanahan has been directed to focus on equipment, in conjunction with the Players' Association, in an effort to reduce the size of the equipment without reducing its protectiveness but also without compromising the safety of an opponent who is contacted by that equipment.
-- The NHL Protocol for Concussion Evaluation and Management has been revised in three areas: 1) Mandatory removal from play if a player reports any listed symptoms or shows any listed signs (loss of consciousness ... Motor incoordination/balance problems ... Slow to get up following a hit to the head ... blank or vacant look ... Disorientation (unsure where he is) ... Clutching the head after a hit ... Visible facial injury in coombination with any of the above). 2) Examination by the team physician (as opposed to the athletic trainer) in a quiet place free from distraction. 3) Team physician is to use 'an acute evaluation tool' such as the NHL SCAT 2 [SCAT stands for Sports Concussion Assessment Tool] as opposed to a quick rinkside assessment.
-- The Board will be approached to elevate the standard in which a Club and its Coach can be held accountable if it has a number of 'repeat offenders' with regard to Supplementary Discipline.
-- In the continuing pursuit of the ultimate in player safety with regard to the rink environment, a safety engineering firm will be used to evaluate all 30 arenas and determine what changes, if any, can and should be made to to enhance the safety of the environment. For the 2011-12 season, the teams that have seamless glass behind the nets, on the sides, or surrounding the entire rink will be directed to change to plexiglass.
-- A 'blue-ribbon' committee of Brendan Shanahan, Rob Blake, Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk -- all players who competed under the standard of rules enforcement that has been in place since 2005 -- to examine topics relevant to the issue.