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Is the “quiet room” treatment good enough for concussed players?

Oct 19, 2011, 8:00 AM EST

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Andy McDonald, Scott Hannan AP

Last season, hearing about potentially concussed players being sent to the “quiet room” was the hot topic of discussion. It wasn’t just the first step the league took in trying to protect players, but it was seen as a bit of a controversial change. This season, the league’s concussion protocol is coming under fire thanks to St. Louis’ Andy McDonald.

McDonald is out with a concussion, one he got after returning to a game after going through the quiet room protocol. As you might expect, seeing an injury like that that came from those circumstances, it’s going to raise a lot of questions.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford hears from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly about how the league feels on the situation.

“We are familiar with the circumstances surrounding Andy McDonald’s case, and we are comfortable with how the case was handled by the medical care professionals from start to finish,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email. “Our protocol was fully complied with. It’s important to recognize that sometimes the symptoms of a concussion don’t manifest themselves until well after the event causing concussion, sometimes 48 to 72 hours later. In those instances, and where there are no other obvious reasons for concern, a return to play authorization is likely. I’m not sure anything more could or should be done in those cases.”

If the protocol was complied with and the player was still injured, then perhaps the protocol needs to be examined a bit more thoroughly. We’ve seen it happen enough where a player looks fine, acts fine, and seems fine only to see them wind up on the shelf for months (oh, hello Sidney Crosby).

The issue with concussions is a major one and the league can’t afford to have situations like this happen, especially with a team like the Blues that is dealing with another player with concussion problems in David Perron.

The “quiet room” is a great first step for the NHL in getting their concussion treatment issues resolved, but leaving well enough alone is going to get more players hurt for extended periods. Getting everyone from the NHL and NHLPA on board to make it work the right way might be even harder than keeping a player off the ice for 15 minutes when they’re hurt.

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