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How hockey players can reduce concussion risk

Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:24:16 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 22 2013 11:06:45 AM CDT
hockey player stick and puck

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Top scientists, trainers, coaches, officials, retired professional players and manufacturers from across the United States, Canada and Europe are gathering to discuss concussion - related issues, including the science of concussion, impact on youth athletes and hockey community response. While the summit will focus on ice hockey, concussion-related topics will apply to all sports.

“This is an opportunity for experts across the hockey world to come together to make the sport safer for our athletes,” says Michael Stuart, M.D., co-director, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. “Hockey players at all levels are

bigger, stronger and faster. Therefore, we must improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent traumatic brain injury.”

The Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center is facilitating this conference with support from the Brian Mark Family Foundation, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Hockey Equipment Certification Council, International Ice Hockey Federation and USA Hockey.

The summit is intended to build on the first Ice Hockey Summit: Action on Concussion held in 2010.

Prioritized action items from that summit helped foster mandatory concussion education for all USA Hockey coaches, improved teaching of body contact at younger ages, and rule changes, such as penalties for all hits to the head, a delay in body checking until the bantam level and the elimination of dangerous acts, such as checking from behind.

As a result of these rule changes, Minnesota Hockey/Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center data showed a marked reduction in checking from behind penalties.

At the conclusion of this year’s summit, participants will again develop an updated action plan that will be shared

with the hockey community

“To reduce concussions in ice hockey, we must change the injurious mindset and behavior of the players, coaches and fans,” emphasizes Aynsley Smith, Ph. D., Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.

"Athletes — especially youth athletes — need to learn proper body control and stick play to change the focus from checking to improving hockey skills. We have made tremendous progress in our sport, but there is more to be done.”

Source: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/files/2013/10/Summit-NR.pdf