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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Increase Of Concussions In Ice Hockey

By : Julia Woodhouse
Overall the sport of hockey has had an increase in concussions this season with a 41% escalation since last season. Most concussions are caused by fighting and “accidental and inadvertent” collisions. Many hockey teams this season have been affected greatly by the up rise in concussions for the 2010–2011 season.
NHL injury reports indicated that on January 20, 43 concussions had been sustained since the start on the season. That’s a pace that works out to about 77 for the year. 154 concussions have been reported in practice or games from the start of the preseason through the 8th week of the 2010 regular season.
Many famous NHL players have been affected by concussions. Recently, on January 30, in Raleigh, NC there was the NHL All-Star game. It lacked its biggest star, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby who had gotten a concussion from a Washington Capitals player during the Winter Classic on January 1.
 Boston Bruins player Marc Savard has been shut down for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season due to a concussion. He had a really bad concussion and was out for months and he was recently hit again, which has ended his playing time this season.
Concussions have not only affected players in the NHL, but it has affected many high school teams around the country. Paul Spear, the boy’s, varsity hockey coach at Framingham High School, has had 1 player have a concussion this season. “It was a grade 2 concussion that required he sit out for over a week until he was symptom free, which meant no aversion to light, loud noise and no headaches,” said Spear.
John Gallagher the girl’s varsity hockey coach at Framingham High School has also had 1 concussion this season.The player had been side-lined for 8 days.” says Gallagher.
Is there a possibility that the rules may change to make the rate of concussions lower? Kaitlin Rowe, the Boston Bruins Fan Relations Representative said, “Yes, I think they could absolutely add rules to reduce the amount of hits/concussions in the NHL and hockey in general. It's a hard call to make, because some concussions happen from hits that would be avoided if the player getting hit kept their head up and saw it coming. They do currently have rules on clean hits and not clean hits, to help prevent concussions.”
Spear said “I don’t believe any current rule changes will help. It has been a long standing problem in the NHL, only if they somehow limited the body contact would things change but given that is what draws people to hockey, I don’t see it changing any time soon.”
John Gallagher said, “I think rules may change in the next few years.  We are in a stage of making coaches, players, and parents aware of the issue.  Next to come may be some rule changes.”
Hopefully, the increase of concussions will decrease next season and players will be more cautious when they get checked. Rule changes might be made but some people argue that these hard checks are part of the game and shouldn’t be taken away.

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