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KIJHL hires concussion consultant

The league has entered a partnership with Dr. Michael Czarnota
Dr. Michael Czarnota is the official neuropsychology consultant of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. (Contributed)

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has entered a partnership with Dr. Michael Czarnota, the official neuropsychology consultant of the Canadian Hockey League, to improve its concussion protocols.

Czarnota’s resume includes working with the East Coast Hockey League, United States Hockey League, the Canadian Hockey League and its three leagues. He 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,” he said in a statement. “I really think there’s an opportunity there for the care to improve and really bring that up to more modern standards.”

Czarnota has known and worked with Cory Cameron, the junior hockey league’s director of health and safety, since 2006.

“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,” he said.

Czarnota, who will begin in his role immediately, said the junior hockey league taking steps at improving the concussion care it provides athletes will better align the league with the resources and services currently being used by many respected universities and organizations, including the National Football League, Canadian Hockey League and National Hockey League.

He will begin by providing access to information and spreading it across different levels. Providing information to players, coaches, therapists and parents as to what they can expect.

The partnership enables the hockey league to utilize Czarnota as the exclusive consulting neuropsychologist.

He will provide appropriate assistance, instruction, and guidance regarding contemporary concussion care, successful implementation and 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 league, appropriate team staff, local providers, or assisting with referrals for additional clinical evaluations by knowledgeable clinicians in suitable locations (proximity to team or home).

“I am very excited to have this agreement in place to see the overall KIJHL Concussion Management be brought to a new level,” said Cameron. “I look forward to working directly with Dr. Czarnota to develop a KIJHL specific concussion protocol.”

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is a Junior A, Tier II league with 20 teams in the British Columbia Interior and Washington.