Colorado Avalanche: Facing Concussions in Modern Hockey

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Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats safety Jared Tevis (38) walks off of the field after suffering an injury during the first half against the Boise State Broncos in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. The Broncos won 38-30. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports


A series of new studies from the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University set out to examine post mortem brain tissue of former high school, college and professional football players for signs of degradation and disease due to football-related contact with the head, specifically concussions. The results are staggering.

Out of the 165 brains examined, 131 showed evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in athletes that suffered repeated head trauma. That’s 79%. When reducing the study down to former NFL players only, 87 of 91 all showed signs of CTE. That’s 96%.

When I first read about the study, my first thought as a fan of ice hockey was: if 96% of former football players showed signs of CTE and permanent degenerative disease from repeated contact to the head inducing trauma to the brain – then what’s the percentage of hockey players suffering from the same?

And then I thought: 96%?! That’s almost all of them? How did THAT happen? Did they all have one great big really nasty collision to the head which caused them to have lingering brain injuries? Or maybe it wasn’t.

Maybe they all suffered from a million “little to medium” sized head injuries, and the net result has been so particularly awful because of the cumulative affect.

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