Leafs coach Mike Babcock weighs in on concussion protocol

02/04 2:10pm EST by THB Staff
Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs, Blog

Mike Babcock believes it’s ultimately up to a player to decide whether he’s healthy enough to continue playing during a game.

In light of Wednesday’s news that Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman suffered a concussion on a hit from Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki prior to running over linesman Don Henderson, the Leafs’ coach was asked for his understanding of the league’s concussion protocol.

“Well, I think when the player says he's OK to play, and keeps playing, he's OK to play,” Babcock said following the Leafs morning skate. “I put an unbelievable amount of duress on my poor trainer when he's taken some player off the ice when he should be killing the next penalty.

“This is a hindsight thing, after the fact. Everyone can blame everyone else. The people there, the medical people in Calgary would've done everything they could to make the right decision based on league protocol.”

According to TSN’s Rick Westhead, the Flames did not follow the NHL’s concussion protocol during the Jan. 27 game.

Babcock, who is set to coach in his 1,000th NHL game tonight, also clarified how the Leafs handle concussed players.

“On our team, when someone is unconscious or dazed or looks like they're supposed to go to… I guess they call it the dark room or whatever… I mean some of these things aren't even anything and they're going to the dark room, I don't quite get that, but that's legal liability with the league and that's concussion protocol,” he said. “As we learn more and more, you're more and more careful with them.”

As for Wideman, the Flames announced on Thursday the defenseman cleared concussion protocol and will practice with the team while suspended.