Blog, Case Studies

CJFL Tracks Yearly Player Safety Improvements with HEADCHECK


Implementing HEADCHECK has led to measurable player safety improvements for the Canadian Junior Football League.


  1. Increased protocol compliance 
  2. Improved adoption and engagement of a digital platform
  3. Identified opportunities to improve player safety further

Concussions pose a critical danger to football players with the potential for life-altering brain injuries. Boston University reports that over 500,000 concussions afflict 3 million youth football players annually. Despite the efforts of organizations to introduce mandatory safety protocols, the mismanagement of concussions risks the health of players and the viability of their organization. Even the largest and most prominent organizations are often required to settle substantial lawsuits arising from poor compliance with these critical player safety protocols.

Founded in 2013, HEADCHECK Health, a software-as-a-service company, identified the profound impact of concussion mismanagement on athlete safety and organizational viability. HEADCHECK’s mission is to eliminate this risk by maximizing compliance with concussion protocols. By simplifying compliance oversight and working with team medical personnel to increase it, HEADCHECK removes the administrative burden on sports organizations to safeguard their athletes from these risks.

In this case study, you’ll learn how the Canadian Junior Football League has increased compliance with its concussion protocol for the past three seasons since adopting HEADCHECK.

“The league has supported standardizing our concussion protocol and ensuring it’s followed. I’m so glad that the executives can see HEADCHECK’s impact on our league and player safety.” – Allison Frenette, PFC Executive Player Health Consultant.

The CJFL Chooses HEADCHECK For Concussion Management

The Canadian Junior Football League, the top youth football league in Canada with 19 teams across the country, successfully piloted HEADCHECK before adopting it entirely in 2021 based on its excellent results in executing and tracking its concussion protocol. 

The implementation of HEADCHECK was not a solitary decision. It was a collaborative effort, receiving full support from the league office, the Canadian Football League, and the CJFL’s consulting Neuropsychologist, Dr. Michael Czarnota: “Adopting HEADCHECK league-wide helps keep everyone on the same page so the teams can provide the proper care to the players. It’s a very proactive step by the league in a physically demanding sport.”

The immediate win of adopting HEADCHECK was for the team medical staff, specifically the Head ATs. They all now had full access to a digital platform built through peer feedback and usage at the highest levels of the sport. 

When it comes to concussion management, the already time-crunched Head AT’s job often includes education, baseline testing, post-injury testing, return-to-play management, documentation, and a medical clearance process involving multiple stakeholders. This complex and time-intensive process has traditionally involved manual work, paper, and pen. Now, they streamlined that entire process in an easy-to-use app and web portal. 

“The utilization of HEADCHECK has greatly enhanced our concussion management,” said Shannon Howe, Medical Coordinator, Regina Thunder. “Having the app on our devices makes it extremely easy to oversee our athletes and monitor their progress through the concussion protocol which benefits me and the entire medical staff. Having this information readily available at our fingertips enables everyone to precisely track the athlete’s stage in the protocol. HEADCHECK affords us more time to collaborate with the athlete and safely expedite their return to play.”

CJFL Tracks Tangible Player Safety Improvements with HEADCHECK

The key benefit of Implementing HEADCHECK at the league level is the ability to track every aspect of the concussion protocol, injury mechanism, and the effects of player safety initiatives. 

They were alerted to possible red flags, including potential compliance issues, insights from injury rates, and other areas of concern. The HEADCHECK team met regularly with the CJFL to address these concerns and develop strategies for improvement. As a result, an already proactive organization in the CJFL saw improvements in its concussion protocol compliance every year since adopting the digital platform.

HEADCHECK removed the once overwhelming administrative burden of tracking compliance with a concussion protocol. The CJFL now spends valuable time reviewing the data and finding areas to improve player safety.

“The information and data we now have from HEADCHECK is very valuable,” said Jim Pankovich, CJFL Commissioner. “With it, we can take proactive steps to improve player safety and measure the results. The results speak for themselves; it’s hard to argue that the CJFL isn’t a safer league today than before we started working with HEADCHECK.” 

“We commend the CJFL for the significant improvement achieved over the last three years,” said Darcy Legris, HEADCHECK’s Customer Success Lead for CJFL. “The continued support and encouragement from league leaders helps their teams meet player safety goals set out by the league.”

Your Organization Can Achieve These Results

Many organizations lack a digital platform for concussion management, which results in mismanaged injuries, unnecessary administrative work, and an inability to identify compliance risks. 

HEADCHECK’s digital platform has been embraced by thousands of sports leagues, governing bodies, and teams, including Major League Soccer, the Canadian Football League, and USA Cycling. Notably, HEADCHECK’s solutions have been instrumental in some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, including the Olympics and Tour de France. 

Forward-thinking grassroots organizations like Kamloops Minor Hockey, the Canadian Junior Football League, and the Western Lacrosse Association have taken the proactive step of using HEADCHECK to keep their organization and athletes safe. 

Connect with us and get more information about how you can use HEADCHECK with your organization. 

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