Bodychecking triples injury risk in Pee Wee hockey

Jun 08, 2010

Bodychecking in Pee Wee hockey (with players aged 11-12) more than triples the risk of concussion and injury, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Calgary.

The researchers compared rates of between Alberta Pee Wee leagues, which allow body checking, and Quebec Leagues, which don't. The study followed 74 Alberta teams (1,108 players) and 76 Quebec teams (1,046 players) for a season, recording how and when injuries occurred during a game.

"I felt it was important to get some facts," says Carolyn Emery PhD, who is a sport epidemiologist, trained athletic therapist as well as a coach and hockey parent. "The two leagues provided an excellent opportunity to study the public health impact of concussion and injury associated with body checking, and the facts speak for themselves." Emery is a professor in the University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology and Faculty of Medicine.

This is the first study of its kind to use valid injury surveillance and injury assessment by team physiotherapists and athletic therapists, along with follow-up by sport medicine physicians.The findings showed that Alberta Pee Wee players suffered 209 injuries compared to only 70 for Quebec players; the ratio was similar for other categories such as severe injury (73 - 20), concussion (73 - 20), and severe concussion (14 - 4).

The research, which was done in collaboration with researchers from McGill University and Laval University, will be published in the June 9th edition of the prestigious .

Bodychecking in minor hockey is a volatile and complex issue with strong advocates on either side of the debate. Last winter Calgary Pee Wee hockey player Ash Kolstad was flattened by a blow to the head and sustained a severe concussion.

Due to post concussion symptoms he has been unable to resume his normal life and only recently returned to school. Despite this, his mother wouldn't want to see bodychecking removed from the Pee Wee game. "I don't think that bodychecking is the problem," says Rosalie Kolstad, "bodychecking is part of the game. Part of the problem might be players not knowing how to bodycheck which results in headshots or hits from behind, and I'm disappointed that some coaches and parents in the stands cheer those kinds of hits."

For her part, Dr. Emery hopes that her research will open a dialogue on whether checking should be allowed at all levels of Pee Wee Hockey.

"The public health impact is clear—if body checking were eliminated in Alberta Pee Wee, it is estimated that out of the 8,826 players registered, we could prevent over 1,000 game-related injuries per year and over 400 game-related concussions per year."

Explore further: Non-smokers exposed to three times above safe levels of particles when living with smokers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Young hockey player injuries studied

Nov 02, 2005

A University at Buffalo study suggests unintentional collisions and falling into boards cause more injuries among young hockey players than do body checks.

Second concussion can be serious for young athletes

Sep 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sustaining a second concussion shortly after a first one can lead to serious problems for young athletes, making it extremely important for players to be correctly diagnosed after being hit in the head.

Concussions not taken seriously enough, researcher says

Jan 18, 2010

Despite growing public interest in concussions because of serious hockey injuries or skiing deaths, a researcher from McMaster University has found that we may not be taking the common head injury seriously enough.

Study asks how safe is high school football?

Aug 15, 2007

Football, one of the most popular sports in the United States, is also the leading cause of sports-related injuries. During the 2005-06 season, high school football players sustained more than half a million ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0