NHL proves they don't care about NHL Player Safety after Cale Makar suffers 2nd concussion in 11 days

Published February 21, 2023 at 12:10

Despite what the National Hockey League wants you to think, they don't care about player's safety. The league has claimed on multiple occasions they take head injuries seriously, but their actions show the opposite. Their lack of action was on complete display over the weekend as Cale Makar suffered what would eventually be diagnosed as his 2nd concussion.

Makar suffered his first concussion of the season on February 7th in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The hit was delivered by Jeff Carter and sent Makar to the quiet room for 10 minutes, but he did return. There was no penalty called on the play.

Makar was diagnosed the next day with a concussion and was expected to miss 2 full weeks. However, Makar received clearance to return to the lineup Saturday, after just 11 days. Makar's return lined up perfectly with a game against the St. Louis Blues, which the Avs we're thrilled to have Makar back for.

The first 2 periods of the game were uneventful, but early in the 3rd a collision with Alexei Toropchenko, left Makar in obvious distress. Makar immediately can be seen grasping at his head and he headed directly towards the Avalanche bench.

On the play Toropchenko's stick and fist clearly strike Makar in the head and neck, again there was no penalty. But even more surprisingly, despite Makar leaving the ice, the NHL's concussion spotter never pulled Makar from the game. A surprising choice, given Makar immediately grabs his head. Peter Baugh of The Athletic shared this information:

The spotter did not pull Makar from the game, according to an Avalanche spokesman, despite the fact that the defenseman grabbed his face after the play. Makar told the Colorado Springs Gazette postgame that he "got kind of bruised on the nose, just because I think my visor hit it."

Despite the league's spotter not pulling Makar, it feels like a major error on the part of the Avalanche to allow Makar to return to the game. Especially after he displayed delayed onset symptoms of his previous concussion, something Baugh agrees with.

Definitely feels like someone in the Avs room — regardless of if Makar was pulled by a spotter — should have decided he shouldn't have returned to action after contact to the head given the fact that he had a concussion earlier that month.

Earlier this year the NFL drew serious criticism after Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions after concussion protocol failed him. If the NHL is looking to avoid their own black eye, they'll have to show a significant improvement to concussion protocol. Unless they want another one of the game's young stars to have his career cut short due to head injuries.
February 21   |   101 answers
NHL proves they don't care about NHL Player Safety after Cale Makar suffers 2nd concussion in 11 days

Does the NHL do enough for head injuries?

Yes, they protect the players1716.8 %
No, they clearly don't4746.5 %
Sometimes yes and other times no3736.6 %
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