The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League board of directors has voted unanimously to adopt and implement a nationally recognized Concussion Safety Program that will be administered and managed by Dr. Michael Czarnota.
The program will be introduced in September for the 2011-2012 hockey season.
The program will provide education, information and neurocognitive testing with ImPACT to treat and manage concussions more effectively.
With the technology and expertise Dr. Czarnota offers, the league will raise the standard of care for its athletes and better determine when to return a player to the ice. His experience with athletes of all ages and skill levels will bring an invaluable addition to the effective diagnosis, treatment and safe return to play of the concussed NOJHL athlete.
“I am glad to be a partner with the NOJHL and its efforts to both improve and preserve the health and safety of its athletes. The NOJHL deserves full credit for being proactive and for taking meaningful steps to address the issue of concussion in Junior A ice hockey, ” said Dr. Czarnota.
The program has the full support of NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca. “The decision to implement the Concussion Safety Program speaks to the degree of how this league views player safety. Player safety in the NOJHL is paramount,” he said. “The best development league in the world, the Ontario Hockey League, currently uses Dr. Czarnota and this program, and we are fortunate enough to have their leadership on the issue of player safety.
Vice chairman of Hockey Canada Joe Drago also celebrated the addition of the program.
“Concussion safety is certainly at the top of the radar screen in today’s game,” he said. “I salute and congratulate commissioner Rob Mazzuca and the NOJHL for recognizing the importance of this concern and especially for spearheadingthis initiative…TohaveDr. Michael Czarnota involved will give credibility and a tremendous boost to the program. I am very proud to be a former commissioner of the league.”
Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson also applauded the move.
“(I) would like to applaud the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League board of directors on hiring Michael Czarnota and the program on concussion safety program,” he said. “This puts the players’ safety first and this is a great message to players, coaches , administrators and fans in their league.”