Skip to content

Head games: NHL sends concussion expert to Sochi

Feb 5, 2014, 1:34 PM EST

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. Miller sends ex-Buffalo mates to 14th straight loss

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:15 AM EST

    Carolina Hurricanes v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Sabres conclude January with an 0-12-0 record.

  2. Video: Jarome Iginla records his 1,200th NHL point

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:35 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche

    He’s now tied with Dino Ciccarelli on the all-time points list.

  3. Video: Despres’ OT winner lifts the Pens over the Devils

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Simon Despres Getty Images

    Kris Letang has assisted on Pittsburgh’s last seven goals.

  4. Blackhawks plan on keeping Darling in the mix

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:30 PM EST

    Chicago Blackhawks v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    He’s a restricted free agent after this season.

  5. Leafs won’t turn to prospect William Nylander for help

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:45 PM EST

    William Nylander William Nylander

    The 18-year-old is playing in his 3rd career AHL game tonight.

  6. Canes’ Khudobin yanked after allowing 2 goals on 3 shots

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:00 PM EST

    Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin (31) takes a break during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) AP

    Was 6-0-0 in his previous seven appearances entering tonight.

  7. New state of hockey? Talks underway for ASU games at Coyotes’ arena

    Jan 30, 2015, 5:16 PM EST

    PNI coyotes main 0102 Getty Images

    “We would be thrilled to have them play at our venue.”

  8. Norfolk, Glens Falls, and Manchester get ECHL teams

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:37 PM EST

    Norfolk Admirals AP

    Oklahoma City and Worcester do not.

  9. Goalie nods: Miller faces Sabres for first time

    Jan 30, 2015, 2:17 PM EST

    Ryan Miller Getty Images

    News and notes from around the crease…

  10. Wings place Lashoff on waivers (Updated)

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:01 PM EST

    Brian Lashoff AP

    Xavier Ouellet sticking around?

  11. Ehrhoff undergoes concussion testing after Ovechkin collision

    Jan 30, 2015, 12:52 PM EST

    PA: Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Pittsburgh d-man won’t play tonight against New Jersey.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (3292)
  2. S. Crosby (2921)
  3. T. Hall (2648)
  4. M. Brodeur (2431)
  5. P. Rinne (2384)
  1. K. Letang (2383)
  2. T. Johnson (2378)
  3. C. Price (2247)
  4. P. Hornqvist (2182)
  5. M. Richards (2158)