5 Point Plan to Reduce Concussions

By Jeff Zeffer

A couple days ago Gary Bettman announced a 5 point plan to reduce the frequent amount of concussions, which has grown in this NHL season. In my opinion this is the first step (plan) the NHL has taken in years to significantly make the game of hockey safer. The plan in summary is;

1)      Brendan Shanahan is now going to focus with the Players Association on reducing the size of equipment, but still have that equipment to be most effective when an opponent comes in contact with you.  

2)      Team physicians are going to be even tightening down when players are allowed to come back and resume practice and game play from a concussion injury. (As we all know Marc Savard came back to early). More specifically using the tool NHL SCAT 2 (SCAT stands for Sports Concussion Assessment Tool) as opposed to a quick rink side assessment.

3)      The NHL board of governors will create a high standard for each team and their head coach. To be accountable if that team has, “repeat offenders” that have been discipline several times.

4)      Another piece of action will be on the rink environment safety. (All 30 arenas will be evaluated) For the 2011/12 season, the teams that have seamless glass behind the nets, or on the sides, of the rink must change to plexiglas. Other rink safety issues like fans being able to touch the players and among other things may be addressed.

5)      A committee of former NHL players; Brendan Shanahan, Rob Blake, Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk who competed under the standard of rules enforcement that have been in place since 2005, to examine topics relevant to the issue of player safety.

All these ideas are great plan of action to better our game and to make it safer to see our top stars always on the ice.

Another comment that I heard that is an descent idea is this; A good idea would be that all future contracts with the players should clearly state that any player deemed as a repeat offender of hits to the head (including all blind side) will be disciplined up to and including discharge from the team (League if possible) and may be subject to the Laws of the province or state, without prejudice.

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