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KIJHL brings on concussion consultant

Kootenay International Hockey League (KIJHL) officials say they’ve brought on Dr. Michael Czarnota, the official neuropsychology consultant of the Canadian Hockey League, to help the KIJHL ensure its concussion policies are in line with other major sporting organizations.

A media release from the KIJHL announced its partnership with Dr. Michael Czarnota, outlining his impressive resume, including his work with the ECHL, USHL, the CHL, and its three leagues.

According to the release, Dr. Czarnota has a desire to work with as many hockey clubs as he can, and Junior A is a focus.

“Junior A has good, active players who get hurt just as much as anybody else. I really think there’s an opportunity there for the care to improve and bring that up to more modern standards,” said Dr. Czarnota, who has known and worked with Cory Cameron, the KIJHL Director of Health & Safety, since 2006.

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“Cory was interested in trying to elevate the care for the athletes, and it seemed like a natural fit to get back and work with him and hopefully make a big difference.”

Through Dr. Czarnota, the league aims to ensure its concussion protocol is more in line with league resources and the services currently being used by many respected universities and organizations, including the National Football League, CHL, and NHL.

Czarnota’s contract with the KIJHL is immediate, according to the release. He will begin by providing access to information and spreading it across different levels: players, coaches, therapists, and parents as to what they can expect.

Additionally, his role will involve providing appropriate assistance, instruction, and guidance regarding contemporary concussion care, successful implementation, and the review of success.

He will also serve as an additional clinical resource, as needed, for teams and the league if there are complex situations or slow recoveries.

This may involve direct communication with the league, appropriate team staff, local providers, or assisting with referrals for additional clinical evaluations by knowledgeable clinicians in suitable locations (proximity to the team or home).

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the KIJHL and will certainly do my best to promote player health and safety,” said Czarnota.

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