NHL Concussion Thoughts

Recently there has been a spike in awareness and number of concussions in the National Hockey League.  Last year we began compiling the injuries in our database to see where the sport stands (we also do NFL, NCAA football, and Aussie Rules Football).  When Sidney Crosby sustained his initial concussion in the Winter Classic last year it seemed that NHL has begun to take notice.

It was refreshing to see The Star of the NHL deal with the brain injury with some transparency, although he endured some criticism what Crosby did was set into motion the awareness of concussions.  Last season prior to the new year it was very difficult to find actual listed concussions; they were veiled in “upper body” or “undisclosed” listings.  In some cases the injury was improperly reported as a neck or shoulder injury; a sign that the concussion was either a) not understood (unlikely) or b) needed to be hidden.

Before you read on it is important to understand the position of the blog and this author about concussions.

Concussions, brain injuries, are an inherent part of collision sports.  There is very little in the way of equipment that can prevent concussions, the only way to impact a positive change (see decrease) is to address the culture and mechanics of sports.  This does not mean that professional sports should be outlawed, rather subtly changed to protect those that play, not only for the immediate time, but for the long-term health of the athletes.  With this; Continue reading

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Hockey Gets Underway Friday

The National Hockey League began its preseason media blitz yesterday with a heightened awareness on the head injury in the sport of hockey.  Last season the NHL adopted Rule 48, banning blind side contact to the head, it was later expanded at the Winter General Manager Meetings to include lateral contact.

At the same time other leagues were continuing with their rules of no head contact; International Ice Hockey Federation (international sanctioning body of the sport), the NCAA, and possibly the biggest contributor of NHL talent the Ontario Hockey League.  The NHL with the ingrained “tough guy” mentality of the general managers and the deep seeded tradition of the game seem to be missing the point.

The league’s best players, Continue reading

Bravo Hockey Canada!

On May 28th Hockey Canada, the governing body of amateur hockey throughout the nation, sent out a press release tightening down on the rules for contact to the head;

  • zero tolerance measures for all head contact or checks in minor, female, junior and senior hockey:
    • in minor and female hockey, a minor penalty shall be assessed for all accidental hits to the head, while a double minor penalty, or a major and game misconduct at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed for any intentional contact to the head; Continue reading