The NWHL announced Monday morning that it had partnered with NYU Langone Medical Center, which is now the official hospital of the New York Riveters. As such, it will provide the Riveters with game-day medical coverage, with a team of doctors specifically assigned to the New York team.
Additionally, the hospital has pledged to invite all NWHL athletic trainers to attend NYU Langone’s Hockey Sports Medicine Conference for continuing education this year.
“Through this partnership, we hope to not only provide high quality medical care to the elite athletes of the NWHL, but also to develop research projects to inform medical guidance for all women and girls hockey players of all ages and levels of competition,” said Laith Jazrawi, MD, associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at NYU Langone.
Andrew Feldman, MD, clinical assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, has been named medical director for the league. Feldman will oversee the partnership. Additional medical support will be provided from Dr. Jazrawi, Guillem Gonzalez Lomas, MD – who will serve as head team physician for the New York Riveters – Steven Sheskier, MD, Michael Alaia, MD, Dennis Cardone, DO, Warren Young, MD, and the entire Sports Medicine Division in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone.
The league and NYU Langone’s Concussion Center will collaborate with the NWHL to provide care as needed and develop research projects and head injury protocols, which will help ensure the safety of its players going forward.
The NWHL’s players are no strangers to brain injuries. Amanda Kessel, the Riveters’ biggest signing in the 2016 offseason and a 2014 Olympic medal-winner, took more than a year off from hockey while recovering from severe post-concussion symptoms. For a player like Kessel, another concussion could end her hockey career entirely.
Many of the NWHL’s partners still hold full-time jobs in addition to their part-time positions with the NWHL in order to supplement their income; a concussion could have a devastating impact on their off-ice careers as well as their on-ice ones. This partnership could be a smart preventative measure for the league, which, in only its second year, is still figuring out best practices and procedures.
The Riveters have also pledged to bring players to pediatric programs at Langone and run three community ice hockey programs over the course of the 2016-2017 season. The two organizations aim to develop programs for girls’ youth ice hockey athletes that teach safe and healthy participation.
“Forming this partnership with an elite medical institution like the NYU Langone Medical Center is a giant step forward for our league,” said NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan. “We are grateful to NYU Langone for its support of women’s hockey and look forward to working with them to maximize the health and safety of our players and to promote wellness throughout the sport of ice hockey.”