With the hockey season now in full swing, there has definitely been much more attention paid to concussion with the reminder that it is a brain injury. There is a lot of talk about rules around hitting, strict enforcement of rules and using helmets improperly. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of discussion about changing the way aggressive play is taught and coach at a young age: Protective gear not answer for concussions, doctors find There doesn’t need to be, nor should there be, less aggression in the game, but even small tweaks to the way hitting is taught and rewarded could change a lot of the troubling outcomes. Young players need to be taught at a young age that the protectie padding and the helmets they wear only reduces the likelihood of injury, it doesn’t prevent injury entirely. So don’t expect to be invincible out there! Hockey is a contact sport, players of any age, size and skill level will be affected by contact. It may knock you off the puck, it may knock you down, you may brush it aside, or it might cause injury, from a sore leg, shoulder or torso, to a brain injury such as a concussion.

It’s good to see that people are discussing concussions, but the comments are geared toward blaming the equipment and mentioning in passing that education is important. There’s no recognition that the esteem in which hockey is held in Canada makes it invincible to criticism about the way it’s taught, coached, and admired. Education key in treating concussion ‘epidemic’

I don’t agree with the use of a comparison between contact sports and school playground – it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Nevertheless, Dave Shoalts makes some really good points in this Globe and Mail article: Hockey parents, teams hard-headed about concussions

Taking a new approach on hockey concussions The Globe and Mail article emphasizes the attention now paid to concussions in hockey and especially the Hockey Education Concussion Project, a Canadian study that is further desribed in the CTV.ca article Doctors believe concussions in sports an ‘epidemic’ : The hockey study followed 67 junior hockey players, aged 16 to 21, over the entire 2009-10 season and tracked the number and severity of their concussions, as well as how quickly they returned to play.

How can concussion problem in hockey be fixed? My immediate response is “Define ‘fixed’.” Concussions will never be eliminated from a contact sport such as hockey, the goal should be to reduce them. Media attention to the seriousness of concussions is good, but this article is near the bottom of the list of articles on cbcsports.ca Hockey section – the top of the list certainly isn’t rife with pressing hockey headlines. Hockey media is talking more about concussions – that’s a great first step. Step two – attach some importance to the issue.

N.H.L. Has No Plans to Modify Rules on Hits to Head In my opinion, the NHL has done a lot of concussion prevention work, but prevention of hits to the head is not something to teach to fully developed players who have been taught from a young age and encouraged along the way that the bigger the hit the better. Although it’s not the same sport, the video of Ray Lewis’s hit on Dustin Keller (video is at the bottom of the page) shows how hard, effective contact will not end because of concussion prevention rules.

The Ice Hockey Summit: Action on Concussion recommended banning all contact to the head across all levels of the game. While helmets and mouthguards are extremely valuable in reducing concussions, they do not prevent them. Beyond Call for N.H.L. Rule, Mayo Urges Other Anti-Concussion Measures

Roenick to The Sporting News: “We get on the ice, we’re on the ice and we know what we’re getting into,” he said. “We know our life can change from one game to the next. In NHL, concussions vs. warrior mentality

This USA Today article, Not just the NFL: Summit to look into hockey concussions is not only about concussions in hockey, but about the Ice Hockey Summit: Action on Concussion at the Mayo Clinic, as noted on the main page. The need to begin concussion awareness early in player development is stressed.

Globe & Mail article about Ryan Miller’s reaction to a hit that resulted in his teammate, Jason Pominville, leaving the game and is now experiencing post concussion symptoms. Miller’s main issue seems to be changing the ‘culture’ of the game. I think Miller makes some excellent points about the ‘culture’ of the game: Miller urges NHL to ‘wake up’ after Pominville hit

Atlanta Thrasher’s goalie Ondrej Pavelec has concussion This is the YouTube video. It’s at about the 1:33 mark. I don’t know what happen here, but the concussion is reportedly from his head hitting the ice after his fall. There is no “head shot”.

The NHL season started on Thursday, October 7 and the concussion/”head shots” issue has expectedly come to the fore. The Globe and Mail should be commended for focusing attention on has concussions in all levels of hockey. This article is specifically about the NHL and its development of policies around “head shots”: Bettman walking fine line on head hits

This NHL article is touting its rule change more than it it concentrating on concussions: New rule on head hits designed to curb concussions

More to come…

1 Comment
  • Free Macbook
    February 19, 2011

    Excellent read, you’ve put me in a good mood thanks.

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