The QMJHL makes changes aiming to improve player safety
HALIFAX, N.S. – The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League wishes to announce significant changes aimed at improving player safety. These changes have been implemented as a direct result of information learned from a League review of the sudden passing of Acadie-Bathurst prospect Jordan Boyd, which occurred at the Acadie-Bathurst Titan training camp in August of 2013. We wish to acknowledge Jordan’s family who were instrumental in this process, which has resulted in the changes the League is announcing today.
Jordan Boyd was 16 years old at the time of his passing, having been drafted in the June 2013 League entry draft. Jordan passed a standard League mandated physical exam six weeks prior to attending the camp, with no health concerns identified. An autopsy subsequently revealed that Jordan had an undetected heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricle cardiomyopathy, which caused a sudden cardiac arrest.
At the time of Jordan’s passing, the League stated that the QMJHL had a written safety policy on how to deal with player emergencies and that after its initial investigation, the League was satisfied this policy was followed “to the letter” in Jordan’s case. Since that time, and at the urging of the Boyd family and with the purpose of continuous improvement, we conducted a more thorough review of the response and timeline of events that day. As a result of this review and information that was discovered, it became clear to the League that critical first aid readiness needed to be improved upon. For example, an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) that is easily accessible and fully functional should be available at all times which might not have been the case for Jordan.
As a result of the above, the League today announces the following changes to safety protocol that the QMJHL has implemented:
- Each QMJHL team must have at least three team staff trained in CPR and life saving techniques, including the use of an AED. Two of these trained staff are to be at all team events, games, practices, and tryouts.
- Each QMJHL team shall have its own AED which will be in the possession of the trainer/athletic therapist at all team events. This person will ensure the AED is in good working order within recommended guidelines.
- Each QMJHL team must report on an annual basis those individuals with the team who are trained in the above and provide confirmation to the League of their certification and annual refresher training. The League will conduct training each year for teams as part of the annual League entry draft.
- The League will audit each team on an annual basis to ensure compliance with the above measures.
- The League physical exam at the pre-camp stage has been improved with a more thorough health questionnaire and physical examination.
“The QMJHL wishes to acknowledge the Boyd family’s determination in seeking these improvements that are solely aimed at protecting our players. Today, the League takes these additional measures to reduce the risk that this type of incident will occur again. As tragic as this incident has been, the League has learned from this tragedy and is committed to learning from how this matter was handled. At the time of the events, the League communicated information which, afterwards, turned out to be lacking in accuracy. The League would like to officially and sincerely apologize to Jordan’s family and friends for the hurt this caused” said Gilles Courteau, Commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Since Jordan’s passing, we have been devoted to raising awareness of the importance of emergency first aid preparedness and CPR and AED training within the QMJHL and sport in general. We are doing this in Jordan’s memory, but also in the interest of all young athletes. We commend the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for revisiting this tragedy and learning from it” explained Debbie and Stephen Boyd, Jordan’s parents.
Financial contribution to the Jordan Boyd Foundation
The League has made a commitment to a financial contribution to the Jordan Boyd Foundation whose goals are to educate and raise awareness of inherited heart disease in young people, and particularly athletes. This gesture represents the League’s sincere willingness to honour Jordan’s memory.