The KHL has always paid special attention to the health of its players. The League has created a medical portal, introduced an electronic “medical passport” for players, developed new safety standards for rinks' boards and consistently fought dirty play – all key steps toward increasing safety and reducing injuries for the KHL's players.
After the first month of the 2010/11 season and more than 140 games, several top KHL officials dealing with player safety have offered their thoughts on the results so far.
KHL director for oversight and procedural matters, Vadim Skoropupov: “Since its first season, the League has been providing high standards of player and fan safety and improving them each year. Two first aid groups are on hand for every game, teams' medical staff have been trained on how to work with the first aid crews, and each venue has developed optimal emergency routes for evacuations of injured players. We have also released in Russian and distributed to every team the IIHF's medical training film. … It has also been distributed to medical facilities that provide ambulance services at KHL arenas.”
The KHL's medical center conducts analytical and statistical surveys of player injuries. Director of the KHL's medical center, professor Nikolai Durmanov (pictured): “Since the 2009/10 season, the League has had a special program to reduce injuries. We introduced electronic injury passports for every player. This virtual passport has an interactive, multimedia program that keeps a detailed record of all traumatic events, on and off the ice. … The program makes it possible to maintain detailed, online statistics in all three professional hockey leagues … which is a development unique to the KHL and is being used for the first time anywhere in world sports. … We're in close cooperation with the world's top experts and specialists from the IIHF on preventing hockey injuries, particularly head injuries.”
The referees' involvement is also a major factor in preventing injuries during games. Director of the KHL's referees department, Alexander Polyakov: “The KHL introduced new rules this season intended to reduce the number of injuries, protect players' health and eliminate dirty playing from the game. Now, for inflicting an injury in the regular season, the offending player can be disqualified for several regular season games. We've also introduced a differentiated approach to handling fights. For instigators of fights and players who hit a defenseless opponent, the penalties have been significantly stiffened. We have our referees pay special attention to hits on the boards, strikes from behind and hits in the region of the head and neck. Those are the sorts of violations that lead to injuries, and we're taking a strict and uncompromising approach to fighting them.”