SBD/March 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA May Establish League-wide Policy For Handling Concussions By Next Season

Marquis Daniels among NBA players who have suffered concussions in recent years
The NBA is "consulting with an independent neurologist and may establish a league-wide policy for handling concussions by next season," according to Colin Fly of the AP. NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank said "the league is working with a consulting neurologist concerning the possible adoption of a league-wide protocol." Frank "declined to name the neurologist involved with the league, but said they've been working on the issue extensively this season." The move "would bring the NBA more in line with both the NHL and the NFL." Over the last four weeks, "six NBA players have missed games because of concussions or concussion-like symptoms." Eight NBA players "have missed games this season because of head injuries, concussions or concussion-like symptoms and there's been an average of nine players per season who've missed playing time over the previous five years." The league and the NBPA said that they are "tracking the number of head hits" (AP, 3/8).

NHL NEEDS TO ADDRESS HEAD SHOTS: A TORONTO STAR editorial states, "When NHL general managers meet in Florida next week, ways to avoid head injuries should be at the top of their list." There are "some encouraging signs," as Penguins GM Ray Shero has said that the league "should at least consider banning head shots." Aside from "toughening the rules on head shots, GMs could make sure players in trouble get prompt medical attention." Hockey traditionalists "worry that further restricting head shots will water down the full-contact nature of the game." But the GMs "should take a longer view and do more to protect their players -- and all the young players coming up behind" (TORONTO STAR, 3/9).
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