Concussion discussion V: NHL fighting and the elusive nature of recovery times

Fighting in hockey. They go hand in hand like, well, toothless grins and hockey. Over the years, the NHL has taken steps to reduce fighting in hockey, while still leaving enough wiggle room for the rare enforcers left in the game. Like all sports, hockey culture once considered the concussions that came with fighting merely a minor nuisance. Recent data, however, appears to support the notion that head injuries may contribute to long-term disability. For instance, enforcer Derek Boogaard, who passed in 2011, was found to have developed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Data linking CTE to fighting is scarce, but … Continue reading Concussion discussion V: NHL fighting and the elusive nature of recovery times

Concussion discussion III: The “Impact Indicator” for hockey players

Many recent high-profile cases of post-concussion syndrome have demonstrated that athletes from a wide variety of sports are vulnerable to injury. If superstars such as Sidney Crosby, Justin Morneau and Chris Paul can be sidelined with head injuries, any of us can. Indeed, important questions remain about the risks at the minor league level and the best way to protect young athletes. One recent effort is called the “Impact Indicator”. When embedded into a hockey helmet, the indicator flashes when an athlete has been hit with enough force to potentially cause a concussion. When a threshold is crosses, a green … Continue reading Concussion discussion III: The “Impact Indicator” for hockey players

Concussion discussion II: differences between girls and boys

There is a rising tide of awareness when it comes to concussions in sports (see “the concussion discussion”). A recent study demonstrated that from 1997-1998 to 2007-2008, concussions rates in high school athletes increased 4.2-fold. Rates rose in all 12 sports monitored, so it is likely an improvement in diagnosing, rather than some trend in biology or athletics. However, the most disturbing part of this study was that females were twice as likely to experience concussions as their male counterparts. There is now evidence that there exist quantifiable differences in outcomes between the sexes after concussions: “Female athletes had significantly … Continue reading Concussion discussion II: differences between girls and boys

The concussion discussion I: Hockey and the NHL

I don’t remember much, but I know that it happened fast. I was playing a little extra hockey in a rec league. It was full contact, and like so many others, I got caught letting my guard down near some guy who was taking things a little too seriously. Our team was winning, so we put our forwards back on defense and our D-men up on forward. I was playing wing and my D-man made a slow pass up to me and the other the opponent stepped up and made a completely clean hit on me. After being erased, I … Continue reading The concussion discussion I: Hockey and the NHL