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Full Adoption Without Hesitation: Western Lacrosse Association Case Study

League-wide implementation of HeadCheck Pro proves to be a ‘necessity’ for the WLA

Goals for WLA

  • Encourage colleagues in the adoption of a protocol to improve health and safety for athletes
  • Implement an easy-to-use effective concussion management platform
  • Uphold the highest caliber of support and safety management as an association

Enter HeadCheck

  • Provide protocol compliance oversight for league executives
  • Streamline all necessary testing and documentation accessible via app/dashboard
  • Leverage data-driven insights to elevate safety standards

Results with HeadCheck

  • Seamless integration and adoption of protocol amongst league executives and teams
  • Increase in team and staff accountability for player safety
  • Reduced amount of safety issues recorded throughout the league

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation1. Given the physicality of the game, the potential for injury is almost inevitable. With body contact being a permissible component in the men’s game, head injuries are amongst the top 3 most common injuries that athletes face after ankle and knee sprains2.

The Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) is home to seven men’s Senior A box lacrosse teams sanctioned by the Canadian Lacrosse Association. These athletes compete at a high caliber of sport where aggressive play- backchecking, fighting and high-sticking are not tolerated.

Former lacrosse player, coach, and now administrator, Paul Dal Monte is entering his 5th season as the Commissioner for the WLA. Understanding the importance of prioritizing player safety from all perspectives of the game, ‘implementing a tool and proper concussion protocol was a necessity for the league.’ The WLA partnered with HeadCheck Health in 2018 to implement the app and web system across the league, bringing standardization and a method to check for protocol compliance. The league was one of the pioneers and first movers in adopting HeadCheck at a league level and proved as a successful use-case for other leagues.

Shift in Mentality

‘People come to watch great players play, not to watch great players get injured,’

From fans to league executives, the growing awareness around the long-term effects of mismanaged head injuries have helped highlight the importance of implementing proper protocols to protect athletes at all levels of sport.

This shift in mentality enabled the WLA to integrate HeadCheck’s concussion management platform seamlessly.

There was ‘full adoption without hesitation amongst the league’ according to Dal Monte.

Enter HeadCheck Pro

The addition of HeadCheck’s industry-leading system in the league helped execute concussion protocols, mitigate risk and support athlete recovery. It offered something for all stakeholders involved in the league.

For executives: The monthly reports and real-time protocol visibility supported data-driven insights for elevating league-wide safety standards.

For medical staff: The digitization of baseline testing and streamlining of all necessary documentation facilitated ease in collaborative care.

For teams: The secure electronic paper trail ensured that all players receive medical clearance before returning to play

From teams to employed staff, “Everyone embraced the increase of accountability in player health!”

Looking Ahead

Since partnering in 2018, the WLA have shifted all identification, management and care of concussions onto HeadCheck’s dashboard and app system.

By working closely to elevate player safety standards, Dal Monte hopes that ‘all lacrosse pro leagues will soon follow behind’ in championing the system.

‘In the ideal world, adoption of the system from the junior A and junior B levels when players move up to the WLA will allow for a seamless flow of information to be tracked’. This ‘pool of data’ enables medical staff to deliver better care for athletes as players’ complete medical history has been tracked since day 1.

Ensuring that a secure electronic paper trail is maintained, HeadCheck meets government health privacy standards, including PIPEDA in Canada.

Going forward, this partnership hopes to continue to improve the testing procedures of concussion management, identify areas for improvement and ultimately reinforce the prioritization of athlete safety within the game.

1https://www.teamsnap.com/community/podcast/episode-30-lacrosse-the-fastest-growing-sport-in-the-nation

2https://www.uslacrosse.org/sites/default/files/public/documents/safety/acsm-lacrosse-injury-issues-article.pdf

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