Parents react to NHL’s medical tests for prospects

The NHL wants a way to monitor the health risks of players heading to the NHL.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The NHL will allow its teams to request baseline testing on players with a questionable medical history.

It’s a way to monitor the health risks of players heading to the NHL. Parents of hockey players here in Buffalo know the risk. Jeff Dolce says he’s had personal experience with sports injuries.

“I’ve had three black outs, loss of consciousness, loss of memory, not being able to sleep, nausea. I ended up going to the hospital and getting tested.”

Dolce’s son has been playing hockey for four years. He says he’s happy the NHL is taking concussion testing seriously.

“I don’t know their motivations but hopefully it’s player safety. I’m all for that,” said Dolce.

Next year at the NHL Combine in Buffalo, any team that wants baseline medical testing for a prospect will be able to do that. That testing would be done locally at Kaleida health.

RELATED | The NHL Combine is new to Buffalo, having been held in suburban Toronto since 1999

Dr. David Hughes, Chief Medical Officer for Kaleida, said, “Part of what we do through the Combine process and physicals process is identify previous injuries, whether it be concussion or whether it’s muscular skeletal injuries, then further test on those.”

Colin Campbell, NHL’s Senior Vice President, thinks it’s a good idea.

“Especially with what we’re doing with the expansion of all our testing, the more we know about these players the better. They got a lot invested in drafting these players.”

Ken Tencza’s son is on the Junior Buffalo Sabres. He could be one of those prospects next year.

“The players out here don’t really think about that too much. They just want to play as much and do the best and be the best that they can.”

Players and parents are looking to the NHL to protect its players from injuries that could last a lifetime.

“I think it’s good for all the players. Head injuries are probably the most damaging to any player in any sport,” said Tencza.

The 2015 and 2016 NHL Combine will be at First Niagara and the soon-to-be completed HARBORcenter.

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