April 18, 2017
The results are in, and while they shouldn't be too surprising to anyone hopefully they'll put an end to any lingering controversy: like it or not, the decision to ban checking from youth hockey in Canada unquestionably reduced serious injuries among our young hockey players.
Anyone who's ever played or even seen a game of hockey, or simply laced up a pair of skates—which we assume covers everyone in Calgary, and likely Canada as a whole—could tell you that two bodies colliding with each other on the ice was a good way to get hurt. Now, though, as the University of Calgary has reported we have the research to prove it. In a study funded in part by Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute, researchers found that the 2013 end of bodychecking in Peewee hockey (for 11- and 12-year-old players) led to a 50% reduction in overall serious injuries, and an even more impressive 64% reduction in concussions.
Though some parents and other youth hockey enthusiasts were notably riled when this rule was debated and took effect, the impact of this decision is a clear win for those playing the game. They've suffered half the injuries they used to, and less than half of the serious head traumas—and make no mistake, there's no such thing as a "light" concussion, especially for an 11 or 12 year old. Any concussion can be dangerous and can have debilitating effects; other research into concussions and especially youth concussions is showing us that the brain is even more sensitive than we thought.
Brain Injuries in Calgary Youth Can Have Lifelong Consequences
We see all kinds of injuries and accident victims in our personal injury law practice here in Calgary, and we've always had a special interest in brain injuries. We were a founding donor of the Foothills Hospital Brain Injury Patient Experience Program, and we remain strongly committed to ensuring that those suffering from these unique and life-altering injuries get all of the help they deserve. This includes advocating for common-sense steps that prevent brain injuries in the first place, which is exactly what Hockey Canada accomplished with this rule.
In Alberta alone, the study estimated that our 11-12 year-old hockey players have avoided 581 concussions per year since the rule went into effect. Nationwide, nearly 5,000 expected youth concussions never happened, because the bodychecking that all too often leads to these accidental injuries never took place.
So despite the cries of the hockey purists in Calgary and throughout Alberta, we have to applaud. Also, prepare yourselves: Hockey Canada is considering the same rule change for the Bantam and Midget youth hockey levels, which would ban checking through the age of 17.
Injured Due to Recklessness? Contact a Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
Most hockey injuries don't warrant contacting a lawyer. A serious and debilitating injury caused by another player's recklessness is another matter. If you or a family member has been seriously injured due to someone else's negligence or disregard for your safety, please contact our office today for a free consultation.
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