Skip to content

Head games: NHL sends concussion expert to Sochi

Feb 5, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

JeffKutcher Getty Images

The National Hockey League will have a concussion specialist — Dr. Jeff Kutcher — in Sochi for the duration of hockey competition at the Winter Olympics, the league and player’s association have announced.

”Dr. Kutcher is well regarded in his field and has significant experience working with NHL players,” NHLPA head Donald Fehr said, per the Associated Press. “We are pleased he will be in Sochi and is willing to assist with our players while at the games.”

Here’s more, from AP:

Kutcher will evaluate the neurological health of about 150 NHL players from all 12 countries in the Olympics. Dr. Ruben Echemendia, a neuropsychologist and chair of the NHL’s concussion program, will also be at the Olympics – a first for the league, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

The NHL isn’t fond of freezing its league for two-plus weeks and putting their stars at risk for injuries at the Olympics, but the league and the NHL Players’ Association both have a degree of comfort knowing that Kutcher will be there.

Kutcher, a Michigan-based neurologist, will work in conjunction with both the hockey and skiing events. He has a lengthy history dealing with athletes and concussions — two years ago, he was named the director of the NBA’s concussion program and serves as both an associate profession of neurology at the University of Michigan, as well as a physician for the Wolverines’ athletic teams.

He’s also the director of Michigan’s NeuroSport Program.

In speaking with the AP, Kutcher acknowledged he could be facing some pressure-packed scenarios when it came to clearing athletes to compete in events — especially during medal competitions — but insisted the athletes’ well-being would come first.

”I do feel a little bit of pressure,” he said. ”I understand the gravity of the situation and needing to first and foremost do my job as a neurologist regardless of setting or scenario. It doesn’t matter if it’s a training run or a gold-medal run or any scenario at all.

“It is the health of the athletes that I’m there for.”

Latest Posts
  1. Sharks’ goalie Niemi pulled early in third period

    Apr 25, 2014, 12:48 AM EDT

    Sharks Kings Hockey AP

    They’ll rest him for Game 5 – unless San Jose comes back.

  2. Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2

    Apr 25, 2014, 12:16 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Four Getty Images

    All Minny in this one, as we said earlier.

  3. Marchand was so relieved Boston won, he ‘kissed’ Iginla

    Apr 25, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT

    marchandap AP

    Insert “Did he miss Iginla’s head?” jokes.

  4. Video: Sheppard shows hand-eye coordination to even the score for Sharks

    Apr 24, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four Getty Images

    Timing of the goal couldn’t have been better for San Jose.

  5. Video: Brad Marchand misses the mark a few times

    Apr 24, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    His haters rejoice on Thursday (at least so far).

  6. WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at L.A. Kings

    Apr 24, 2014, 10:28 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Three Getty Images

    L.A. looking to stave off elimination.

  7. Selanne brushes off healthy scratch

    Apr 24, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT

    Teemu Selanne AP

    “No hard feelings.”

  8. Monster of a surprise: Red Wings start Gustavsson over Howard

    Apr 24, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    jonasgustavssonap AP

    It’s due to flu-like symptoms for Detroit’s normal starter.

  9. All signs point to Zetterberg playing for Red Wings in Game 4

    Apr 24, 2014, 7:44 PM EDT

    Mike Richards, Henrik Zetterberg AP

    This post will be updated if there’s a late swerve.

  10. WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 4)

    Apr 24, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

    Brad Marchand, Tomas Tatar, Mark Shewchyk, Scot Driscoll AP

    Whether Henrik Zetterberg can go or not.

  11. PHT Extra: Why so many blown leads? Does Fleury have the yips?

    Apr 24, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four Getty Images

    He sure looked yippy last night night in Columbus.

Featured video

No lead is safe in the playoffs?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Backes (3336)
  2. M. Duchene (2349)
  3. B. Bishop (2138)
  4. H. Zetterberg (2107)
  5. S. Mason (2095)
  1. T. Oshie (2000)
  2. N. MacKinnon (1942)
  3. R. Getzlaf (1588)
  4. T. Bertuzzi (1555)
  5. B. Seabrook (1447)