NHL

Don Henderson Injury: Updates on NHL Ref's Concussion After Dennis Wideman Hit

NHL linesman Don Henderson stands on the ice during the third period of an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Carolina Hurricanes, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 3-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2016

NHL linesman Don Henderson reportedly continues to suffer from concussion symptoms after being hit from behind by Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman in late January. There's no timetable for his return to the ice.  

Continue for updates.


Henderson Out for Season

Saturday, March 12

The National Hockey League Officials' Association announced Henderson won't return to the ice this season, per Frank Seravalli of TSN.

On Feb. 18, Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reported the collision, which resulted in Wideman receiving a 20-game suspension that's currently being appealed, left Henderson with a concussion and back pain. A source told the outlet the official's season could be over.

"He still can't do anything because he hasn't gone two days symptom-free," the source said. "I don't think he's coming back anytime soon, if at all."

The Calgary Sun report also noted the NHL Officials Association has been requesting some veteran members of the staff to retire. So Henderson, 47, could step away from the game for good after more than 1,200 games in the league.

Meanwhile, Wideman continues to appeal the punishment.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports noted Wednesday that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game ban and downplayed the NHLPA's contention that the defenseman himself was concussed at the time. An independent arbitrator will now make a final ruling.

Here's the play in question, via Sportsnet Canada:

The entire situation has been bizarre from the outset. Wideman skated slowly toward the bench after getting knocked down in the corner and then hit Henderson from behind with a lot of force. In that regard, it's not a surprise the linesman is still dealing with health issues.

That said, whether the collision was intentional is hard to determine. Immediately after the game, Wideman claimed he was hurt: "I was kind of keeled over and at the last second I looked up and saw him. I couldn't avoid it," per Nate Scott of USA Today.

Whether the hit was on purpose or not doesn't change the outlook for Henderson. His season, and potentially even his career, is now in jeopardy due to concussion and back issues, as well as "pressure" from the NHL Officials Association.

 

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