The NHL will officially use concussion spotters this season for the first time to identify "visible signs" of head injuries, according to reports Tuesday.
In response to a class-action lawsuit by former players, the league will watch more closely for concussions this season, using two spotters at each game. But The Hockey News reported that the actual spotting will be in the hands of the teams, who will employ their own observers.
The spotters will not have the authority to pull a player from a game if a concussion is suspected. Independent spotters will keep a log of possible injuries and hits to the head for possible comparision with the team-employed spotters, who are not required to be doctors.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said.
The NHL is facing a lawsuit filed by more than 80 former players over claims that the league "did not properly disclose to players that repeated blows to the head could result in long-term brain damage."