Ban bodychecking in youth hockey to prevent concussions

April 18, 2011

Bodychecking in youth hockey leagues should be banned to prevent concussions which can cause serious repercussions, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Concussions in junior hockey are quite prevalent, with up to 25% of all players in one season sustaining these injuries, according to a recent study. Approximately 500,000 young people in Canada play hockey in organized leagues.

"The fact is that the vast majority of concussions, and hockey injuries overall, at all levels of play, are caused by legal bodychecking," writes Dr. Syd Johnson, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. "It's safe to say that as long as bodychecking is a part of ice hockey, a high rate of concussions will also be a part of hockey."

Concussions can cause fatigue, poor concentration, headaches and which can affect academic and athletic performance. Repeat concussions are a risk factor for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which can lead to permanent behavioural and personality changes, early dementia and other serious neurological changes.

Bodychecking should be banned from junior hockey to prevent serious injuries such as concussions. "If youth hockey players are not exposed to bodychecking, their chances of experiencing a concussion will decrease considerably," writes Dr. Johnson. "Because the damaging effects of are cumulative, the fewer concussions a youth player has sustained, the better off they'll be in the short and long term."

"The way hockey is played by the professionals is imitated in junior ," writes the author. "This creates a vicious cycle in which young athletes learn to play in a way that inevitably causes injury and in turn influence the next generation of players. It's time to break that cycle and teach youths to play in a way that emphasizes skill and protects their brains, so they'll be prepared to do the same when they grow up," she concludes.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Baby teethers soothe, but many contain low levels of BPA

December 7, 2016

Bisphenol-A (BPA), parabens and antimicrobials are widely used in personal care products and plastics. The U.S. and other governments have banned or restricted some of these compounds' use in certain products for babies and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.