In continuing efforts to positively affect player safety, beginning with 2019-20 season, a new volunteer role will be added to each of USA Hockey’s 12 Districts in the form of a Player Safety Coordinator.
Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical and safety officer for USA Hockey, explains why it’s a necessary step forward that will benefit every athlete, parent, coach, official and administrator.
Q: Why is USA Hockey adding a Player Safety Coordinator for every District?
A: We felt it was important to have a person in each District whose sole focus is on player safety. This person will be a terrific resource for our members in each District to provide guidance on safety policies and share educational materials.
Q: What will the District Player Safety Coordinators' responsibilities be?
A: The Player Safety Coordinators will implement safety initiatives, distribute educational materials, collect athlete health profile information, ensure compliance with concussion protocol/state statutes, and help to develop an injury reporting platform.
Q: Is collecting and documenting information on injuries really necessary?
A: A national injury reporting system will allow USA Hockey to monitor injury location, type and severity that will foster preventative strategies.
Q: Should we be thinking about establishing Player Safety Coordinators at the club, association or even team level, too?
A: Yes. Our goal is to have a Player Safety Coordinator within each of the 34 Affiliates that make up USA Hockey and eventually someone similar at each association and with every team. Volunteers engaged in these safety-focused roles will ensure that education and prevention programs are in place, player health information is recorded, the concussion protocol is followed and all concussion return to play forms are completed.