BC Lions in action during the first half of a game on Saturday, June 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Jeong/CFL)

CFL partners with Vancouver company to combat brain trauma

New digital platform to help manage risks of concussion and CTE

The Canadian Football League has partnered with Vancouver company HeadCheck Health to better help players and teams manage the risks of concussion.

The link between brain damage and the repeated concussions suffered by some players during football games has been well documented, with Will Smith film Concussion publicizing the issue in 2015. Since 2013, the NFL has been involved in litigation with over 4,000 current players and the estates of former players due to the link between brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that can develop due to multiple concussions. It is believed settlements will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Typically developing years after the concussions, symptoms include speech impediments, movement problems, dementia, depression and suicidal impulses.

This season, all nine CFL teams will use a digital concussion platform to better inform them of concussions and to implement the league’s concussion protocols. Developed by HeadCheck Health, the technology will be mobile and web-based, allowing team medical staff to more easily implement the concussion protocol and help the league monitor teams’ actions in real time.

“We’re delighted to partner with HeadCheck as part of our ongoing commitment to player health and safety,” said Kevin McDonald, the CFL’s vice-president of football operations and player safety. “Their application streamlines our record keeping and that’s an important element of consistent and comprehensive care.”

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The platform can be accessed from a phone, tablet or computer and is used to conduct baseline, sideline, and post-injury concussion assessments. Over time, medical staff will have access to their players’ concussion histories and can compare data when performing sideline or post-injury concussion assessments. It is hoped that due to the platform being digital and easy-to-use, it will be simpler for concussion records to follow players when they switch teams. It should also allow data to be aggregated and analyzed to identify patterns and help improve player safety protocols.

“As a home-grown Canadian company that started out of the research lab with university football players, we couldn’t be happier to be working with the top football brand in our country,” said Harrison Brown, CEO of HeadCheck Health, Inc. “We’re excited to build a long-term relationship with the league and showcase at the biggest stage our ability to make a difference in player safety.”

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The digital platform, training and support will be available in both French and English, and the company says it will meet all health and safety privacy standards in Canada and the United States.

The CFL is not alone in using the system, with BC Hockey, Trek Factory Racing, Volleyball Canada, UBC Athletics, BC Rugby, Eastern Washington University, Rugby Ontario, Western Lacrosse Association and Rugby Quebec some of the early adopters.

For more information on the platform visit headcheckhealth.com.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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