MOSCOW - Emergency medical personnel acted properly in treating Russian ice hockey player Alexei Cherepanov after he collapsed during a game last month, a preliminary league investigation found on Friday.
Cherepanov died soon after he collapsed. Continental Hockey League vice-president of operations Vladimir Shalaev said the inquiry would continue.
"They acted professionally and did everything they could. The absence of special medical equipment in the arena was not the cause of death of this hockey player," Shalaev said. "This does not mean, however, that the charges pending will be dismissed nor does it mean that there will be no disciplinary action against these individuals."
The 19-year-old Cherepanov collapsed on Oct. 13 while on the bench for Omsk club Avangard in the KHL. Regional investigators have said Cherepanov, a top prospect for the New York Rangers, apparently had chronic ischemia - a medical condition that means not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs. They have raised questions as to why the condition went undetected.
"A comprehensive forensic study, conducted by additional medical specialists, is underway to more deeply and thoroughly analyze the case," Shalaev said. "We will not be able to share the cause of death of Alexei Cherepanov until this examination is completed in full. Once the (league) receives the results of a comprehensive forensic examination, they will be made public, and any further individuals found to be negligent will be identified."
During the November break in the KHL's schedule, 67 players under the age of 20 were given medical exams. The examinations uncovered concerns with the health of five athletes.
"Of this group, it appears that one or two young hockey players may have significant health concerns and may have to change their careers," Shalaev said. "The (league) has an obligation to these young men not to endanger their health in any way."
All data from the examinations will be transferred to the clubs' medical staffs.