America has been busy reforming youth football rules to protect their children from the brain injuries damaging the professionals, but Canada is also considering revising their favorite sport’s rules for youth leagues.
Search “concussion” into Google News and it will be immediately clear for anyone that can read that hockey is dealing with just as large of a concussion problem as football.
There is a constant stream of updates on new players with new injuries, and who will be out for their next games due to traumatic brain injury.
The number of concussions are so high that 87-percent of Canadians believe that hockey carries a “significant risk” of head, neck, and brain injury, even beating football which had 82-percent. Notably, soccer, the sport with the most cases of female TBI, is only believed to be a significant risk by 28-percent of those surveyed by the Rick Hansen Institute.
However, the fans of the sport are willing to make changes to the national policy to protect the athletes. 88-percent of fans, including 75-percent of hockey parents, would support a national policy eliminating bodychecking at the peewee level, for ages 11 and 12, reports The Globe and Mail. 82-percent would support a ban at the next level up, with ages 13 and 14.
Over half of parents with children playing hockey know someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury from hockey, which Dr. Charles Tater, founder of ThinkFirst Canada, and project director of the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre calls “an amazing number.”
“It reflects what I hear in my own environment from parents who are very concerned about the concussion issue in hockey,” Tator says. “It indicates we’ve done a pretty good job of making people aware that there is a problem with concussions in many sports, not just hockey.”
Hockey is known for its brutal checks, vicious fights, and lots of lost teeth, so I wouldn’t expect to see the professional level making too heavy of rule changes in the near future, but it is great to see Canada supporting rules that will at least keep their children healthy until they are old enough to make their own informed decision.