NHL reviewing if proper concussion protocol used with Wideman

The NHL is reviewing whether or not the Calgary Flames properly followed the league’s concussion protocol with defenceman Dennis Wideman during the Jan. 27 game in which he cross-checked linesman Don Henderson.

The NHL’s video said Wideman admitted that he “repeatedly refused immediate medical attention and remained in the game.”

The final decision on a player’s status rests with the medical staff. That decision is a judgment call made by the medical staff based on evidence and apparent symptoms, as well as a conversation with the player. Video showed Wideman talking to Flames head therapist Kent Kobelka on the bench.

Former Harvard football player and WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski, who now works with Boston University’s renowned CTE Center, said Wednesday that Wideman’s incident has “exposed that the NHL still has a long way to go on their understanding and management of concussions.”

“From an ethical perspective, none of the responsibility falls on Wideman. He suffered a brain injury while doing his job. Everybody needs to understand that a person who suffered a brain injury should never be expected to assess their own brain injury and make the best short and long-term decision for themselves. Never,” Nowinski said. “This is what medical personnel are for. If a player shows signs of concussion on the ice, it should be protocol that they cannot be allowed to refuse a concussion test.”