Kids and Ice Hockey: High Risk for TBI


Ice hockey causes 43% of the sports-related brain injuries in Canadian children and teens according to study conducted by Dr. Cusimano of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The study was funded by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. The study ran from 1990 to 2009 and was based on data from 15 hospitals which received young people with suspected brain injuries. Soccer injuries accounted for 19% of the brain injuries and baseball for 15%. In general, sports are responsible for approximately 20% of brain injuries experienced by children and teenagers, but they represent injuries which can be made more preventable through improvements to equipment, changing the rules of play and educating coaches to detect injury signs and pull players from the game. In hockey, improved safety will require banning head shots. But that still leaves body checking as an avenue for injury. Dr. Charles Tater, a noted neurosurgeon at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre in Toronto, spoke candidly about the need to change the game to prevent injuries in an article in the Globe and Mail of Friday, March 29, 2013.

Ice hockey in both the United States and Canada is a cause of brain injury for  children, teens, young adults and professional players. Much like football in the U.S., young players bring tremendous drive to the game and brain injuries occur at a high rate. The call for changes to rules of the game, improving helmet technology and training coaches will make the game safer. We have a long way to go to significantly reduce the risks associated with sports-related brain injuries for children.

Click here to read a summary of Dr. Cusimano’s study:


Tag lines: sports-related brain injury, sports and TBI, Dr. Michael Cusimano, Dr. Charles Tater, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, hockey and brain injury

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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