A recent study by Canadian researchers published in Neurosurgical Focus will have many hockey parents worried. It found that the rate of concussions for the 16 to 21 year-old male hockey players was more than three times higher than was previously reported. Researchers believe this may be because boys don’t want to appear weak in the eyes of parents, coaches, teammates and friends.
A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head. The impact shakes the brain inside the skull and temporarily prevents it from working normally. Some people will show obvious signs of a concussion, such as a loss of consciousness or feeling lightheaded, but others may not show any obvious symptoms. Usually a full recovery will happen within 48 hours, but repeated concussions can lead to permanent damage. Researchers say that there is an association between sport concussions and both immediate and later-life cognitive impairment.
Some worrisome highlights of the study:
‘ 29 percent of the players with a diagnosed concussion suffered a second or recurrent concussion during the study period
‘ Two of the players admitted they had concealed a concussion in order to keep playing
‘ 71 percent of the concussions were suffered by forwards, 29 percent by defensemen and no concussions were reported by goalies.
‘ 57 percent of the concussions occurred in the third period, 29 percent in the second period and 14 percent in the first period of a game.
The researchers stress the importance of education for coaches, parents and kids about the risks associated with concussion. And that parents need to get medical attention if they suspect their child has a concussion and follow the recommended guidelines for a safe recovery.