Hockey teams look to improve health screening for players
Published Saturday, August 24, 2013 7:45PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 24, 2013 11:42PM EDT
After the sudden, on-ice death of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League prospect Jordan Boyd, teams are looking for ways to improve an already stringent health screening process.
With players now pushing themselves to the limit in tryouts for coveted positions on top teams across the country, the organizations they hope to play for are concerned what happened to Boyd, 16, when he collapsed on the ice at an Acadie-Bathurst Titan training camp in New Brunswick earlier this month will not happen to any other players.
Halifax Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell says that his players already undergo a full medical, and have to be cleared by family doctors before lacing up. But, he says, more can be done.
"I know they're looking into it and they'll try to improve the medical examinations," Russell told CTV News.
One possible improvement, according to a heart rhythm specialist, would involve examining players’ medical history.
"If there's a family history of young people dying suddenly and there was no cause found for it, then all members of that family should have cardiac tests done," Dr. Martin Gardner said.
Dr. Gardner also warned against using the energy drinks and over-the-counter supplements marketed to athletes.
"Any of these things, you are not even sure what's in some of these chemicals and in some of these powders, but they can be very deleterious to your health and they can cause problems with the heart, with the heart rhythm and even sudden death," Dr. Gardner said.
Dr. Gardner says it is also important to report and identify warning signs including blacking out, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Zach Fucale, goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads, says hockey teams have come a long way in protecting their players.
"If you see the measures taken for concussions and stuff like that, we've come a long way, every team, and I think players are really taken care of," Fucale said.
The results from the autopsy of Jordan Boyd have not been released.