Colorado Avalanche: Facing Concussions in Modern Hockey

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Repeated Head Injuries – Not Just the Big Hits

RHI’s are not exclusive to football alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that the amount of concussions suffered by kids aged 8-13 have doubled in the last ten years and the amount suffered by children 14-19 has multiplied by 200%.

Youth football is the most common culprit, accounting for 47% of sports related concussions (33% occuring in practices), but behind football are youth hockey and soccer. They found that the first head injury suffered by children is usually problematic, but the second and third collisions suffered can cause life-long damage.

3,800,000 concussions were reported in children in 2012 alone and the numbers are rising among middle school aged athletes. 90% of these concussions do not involve blackouts, which make them easier to miss doctors say. An estimate 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury-related disability per the CDC.

When looking at the amount of sports concussions taking place per 100,000 “athletic exposures” (an athlete participating in an organized sporting event), the study shows that 64-78 end in a related brain trauma in football.

The next most damaging sport? Boys ice hockey accounts for 54, followed by lacrosse (40-46 for boys, 31-35 for girls), then soccer (33 for girls, 19 for boys), wrestling (22-23 for boys) and girls field hockey (22-24).

I couldn’t find numbers for girls ice hockey (something I’m particularly interested in for my daughter if/when she wants to), but we can only speculate that it falls somewhere between field hockey and boys ice hockey.

The numbers are alarming enough for parents with children in youth sports to be seriously concerned. With so many parents reconsidering their children’s athletic involvement in youth athletics, fans can only wonder what affect this may have on the future crop of pro sports superstars.

What if your favorite player’s parents decided that hockey was too risky for him when he first began to show an interest in it?

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