Nor has the NHL exhausted its safety options. Next month the league's team doctors will adopt a common scale for grading concussions, but the NHL is still waffling on neuropsychological testing. Burke says the NHL is considering underwriting so-called baseline tests, which measure a" player's mental acuity and provide a basis of comparison after concussions, although he notes the total cost, more than $200,000, is steep. That works out to about $325 a player. "Three hundred a player?" Buffalo president Larry Quinn says. "Hell, I give them more than that in per diems on a road trip." The Sabres plan to start baseline testing on all their players after Christmas.
Serious concussions can take a long time to heal, but the ancillary issue of helmet safety could be fixed tomorrow if the will were there.