In 2011, the NHL implemented new concussion protocols that were meant to decrease the number of severe head injuries. According to these rules, a player who takes a shot to the head is supposed to be sent to a quiet place, free from the distractions, bright lights and noises of the game, so a thorough concussion test can be performed by a team physician prior to returning to the game. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what happens in some cases; especially for star players and at crucial moments, like playoff games.
Today the NHL announced that “concussion spotters” would be present at each game in every arena. If you’re not an NFL fan the term might be a little vague. SO here’s some help understanding the position.
What a concussion spotter ISN’T: A guy on the bench who points at players and says that they have a concussion.
What a concussion spotter IS: A person in arena who will keep a log of all possible injuries and apparent blows to the head. A spotter will communicate with the bench when a player suffers a possible concussion causing hit so that the player can be sent to be properly evaluated. A spotter can have a player removed from the game if they can indicate that a player is showing three clearly visible concussion symptoms.
While league appointed spotters are a new thing in the NHL, team appointed spotters do already have jobs. Up until now, teams have hired spotters on their payroll who work anonymously. The team spotters aren’t always effective, as benches have decided that players were fit to get back on the ice after a short improper bench check. The idea for league appointed spotters is to try to make sure that league protocol is more strictly enforced.