The Canadian Football League (CFL) and Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA) announced Thursday a number of player health and safety initiatives for the 2016 season and beyond.
The announcement is highlighted by the implementation of an injury spotter that will monitor every CFL game in 2016.
Other new health and safety measures include:
• An update to the concussion protocol to facilitate for a player, if he so requests, a second opinion from an independent physician with concussion expertise when a player has been diagnosed.
• A provision that prohibits contact on the first day of training camps, and one which caps the number of padded practices allowed during the regular season at 17.
• The CFL will continue its research using the King-Devick Test, often called the K-D Test, across all CFL teams in 2016. (CFL piloted this research with four CFL teams in 2015)
• A joint CFL-CFLPA research initiative to collect general data to learn more about the diagnosis of concussions and athletes’ understanding of symptoms.
CFLPA President Jeff Keeping says injury spotters and other significant player safety improvements respond to the concerns of players in a time of increased attention to concussions in every sport.
“Our players are very pleased that we are taking important steps to protect their lives, health and careers – by quickly diagnosing and treating possible concussions and other serious injuries,” said Keeping, a Winnipeg Blue Bombers player. “Making the game safer is good for players, good for fans and good for the League.”
“The new measures we are announcing today represent the next step in our continuing commitment to this objective,” added Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the CFL. “Protecting and maintaining the health and safety of our players, elite athletes who are a tremendous asset to our league on the field and in the community, is a top priority for our league.”
The injury spotters will monitor all games from the CFL Command Centre, which for the first time, will have access to a continuous feed featuring all 24 players on the field, as well as the feed of the game as covered by TSN, including replays.
The Spotter will be able to identify when a player is in distress and may require medical attention. This individual will be in direct communication to field level and will have the ability to stop the game should it be necessary.