Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fabbri Played Three Shifts After Hit that Caused Concussion

According to the St. Louis Blues, coach Ken Hitchcock was surprised about Robby Fabbri's concussion.

“We’re going to miss Robby,” Hitchcock said, according to the Blues' web site. “I was surprised on the concussion because he had three great shifts after the concussion."

That statement raised a red flag, because if the NHL's concussion spotting program does its job, Fabbri goes to the locker room immediately for a look.

It's a tricky situation, and one that the NHL is hoping to avoid. For the first time since the NHL’s new concussion protocol was instituted in 2011, the league is placing independent “spotters” in all 30 arenas this year. Whether the teams use them or not is up to them, but even if they don't they are required to have their own spotter on the job.

The purpose of the “concussion spotters” is to determine players who might require further evaluation for concussion after an obvious hit to the head or display of apparent symptoms. In Fabbri's case, which was an apparent hit to the head (Pretty apparent, but maybe not glaring?) -- see video above -- evidently it took a while for the system to do its job.

That the league still allows teams to use their own spotters in lieu of the league's mandated ones is clearly an issue. Teams obviously have a vested interest in keeping players on the ice for crucial games and moments of games while at the same time protecting their long-term futures. It's a dicey proposition at times. So why not let the league handle it?