Concussions are hurting kids —
and the game.
The conversation about hockey head injuries—why they happen and what to do about it—has escalated in recent years as a number of professional athletes have suffered serious injuries.
Body checking increases the number of concussions and spinal cord injuries in ice hockey. Historically, between 15,000 and 20,000 kids and youth will suffer brain injuries each hockey season. Conclusive evidence shows that concussions pose a significant permanent health risk to adolescents, with more severe and longer lasting symptoms compared to adults.
Parents are voting with
According to a Hockey Canada survey during the 2011-12 season, three out of 10 parents said they had a player who had suffered a concussion. The fear of kids getting head injuries is not hype: it’s a public health issue.
We are seeing increased popularity in other sports at the expense of minor hockey. We need to take action now to ensure that hockey remains Canada’s game.
That’s why we’re taking action.
We’re addressing the biggest safety issue in minor hockey — body checking. Knowing that concussions are most dangerous for adolescents, we are calling on Hockey Canada to raise the body checking age from 13 to 15.
Endorsements from concerned hockey parents and health professionals will support our request to Hockey Canada to reconsider their position on allowing body checking at the Bantam level.
How can you help?
Make the right impact by endorsing our letter calling on Hockey Canada to reconsider their position allowing body checking at the Bantam level. Endorsing the letter to Hockey Canada will lend weight and help us demonstrate broad interest in this public health issue, and that steps need to be taken to reduce the incidence of injuries.
If you wish to publicly participate in the campaign we encourage you to connect.
Following are two examples of public endorsements:
Dr. Charles M. Tator – world renowned expert on concussion and spinal injury, prevention and treatment research – has consented to the use of the following public statement:
“For reasons of health and safety, the introduction of body checking in hockey should not be introduced until after the age of 16.”
– Dr. Charles M. Tator
“It’s important that body checking rules protect our young hockey players so that they remain healthy and can play and enjoy “our game” for life. The evidence shows that body checking for youth players substantially increases the risk of life altering injuries with concussions, and back and neck injuries being the most likely to hurt our children, and break everyone’s heart. We support the delay of the introduction of body checking until age 16″.
– Stephen G. Podborski, O.C., LLD (Hon), President and CEO, Parachute
Why should we reconsider the body checking rule in Bantam hockey?
Learn to take a hit.
A common misconception is that the earlier kids learn hitting skills, the safer they’ll be when they enter checking leagues. Minor hockey leagues that allow body checking have a 300% increase in concussions and spinal cord injuries. Studies have consistently demonstrated that introducing body checking in minor hockey offers no safety benefit to players who go on to play in a body checking league.
Introducing hitting at the Bantam level creates an unacceptable risk of injury. Youth aged from 13-14 have the largest discrepancies in weight, height and power. Legal body checking is the predominant cause of injury among youth hockey players, accounting for 45 to 86 percent of all injuries. As an age cohort, Bantam hockey players are at the greatest risk for injuries from body checking.
Body checking is unnecessary.
Addressing safety concerns is one of the top priorities in getting more kids on the ice. Only 8% of Canadians believe that eliminating body checking from Bantam would have a negative impact on the game. The odds of an elite Bantam player (top 10%) playing an NHL game are approximately 0.7%. The odds of suffering one – or more – concussions, from body checking are far, far greater and have a significant negative impact on a player’s career. Anecdotal evidence suggests that players who come from non-body checking leagues are higher skilled in skating and passing.
The numbers say it all.
The idea of eliminating hitting is already popular with players, parents and public health organizations. According to a recent study done by The Rick Hansen Institute, 82% of Canadians support eliminating body checking from Bantam Hockey. Several youth leagues and associations across the country have taken steps to remove checking among non-elite players.
Awareness and action
Our strategy is all about listening to the experts and working with organizations to bring about sensible changes to the rules. We have developed a campaign to raise awareness and communicate the findings and evidence that must be put into practice to improve public health.
Get the facts and endorse the letter to Hockey Canada
CBC News Coverage
Campaign to ban bodychecking in bantam hockey divides parents.
Our campaign on Facebook has already generated more than 330,000 impressions and 55,000 video views.
Our Canvas Ad focuses a spotlight on the issues.
The ad is a mechanism through which we offer a rational perspective to some of the most common talking points, distribute more empirical evidence and continue the dialogue.
The debate as to how to reduce the instances of concussion will shape the future of the game. Our main priorities for the future of hockey must be safety and reducing concussions. Together, we can lay the foundation for growth to support the next generation of players, coaches and parents.