The National Pastime in Canada has not been without its share of traumatic head injuries. For years the “tough-guy” mentality of the sport did not allow for players to concede what was happening to them. As is common with most collision sports, the fact that your head hurts after a game or a specific incident does not warrant attention from medical personnel. That stigma in hockey is beginning to change thanks to the help from Dr. Paul Echlin in Canada.
Echlin, a sports medicine specialist who has been associated with junior hockey for nine years, ascends the pulpit again in Toronto on Monday, with more accumulated evidence to make parents, coaches and hockey players pay close heed. A brain injury stays with you and can even be permanent, they will hear, as Echlin unveils the results of the independent Hockey Education Concussion Project.
In this presentation there will be loads of information about how concussions and head injuries were viewed by the athletes themselves and other support people. To be honest, it’s kind of scary, but it is not unlike what we have seen in other sports, most notably football.
Two out of three players in one minor-hockey study by Toronto neurosurgeon Cusimano didn’t know they could suffer concussion injuries without losing consciousness. At least half the players couldn’t identify a concussion at all.
Education is the key, as we have been trumpeting since day one on this blog.