A new program in Winnipeg will offer specialized research and treatment for kids who suffer concussions.

The Pan Am Concussion Program is to be up and running by this fall and is expected to see as many as 30 children and teenagers every week.

It is to be located at MTS Iceplex, a four-rink facility that hosts amateur games and tournaments as well as practices for the NHL Winnipeg Jets.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger says kids are active on the hockey rink, the football field and elsewhere, but that brings with it a risk of injury.

“Today is a good day for Manitoba families. When their children are playing sports and having fun, they will know Manitoba is a leader in protecting against head injuries and treating concussions,” said Selinger. 

The program is to be led by Dr. Michael Ellis, a neurosurgeon who recently worked at Toronto Western Hospital.

“It really elevates the standard of care I think for these patients,” said Ellis. “We are having a group of people who have the highest level of training in their respective sub-specialties, and everyone is operating within their field of expertise and not outside of it.”

Ellis already sees about 10 to 20 new concussion patients a week, and he expects that could increase to about 30 once the clinic opens.

Hockey player Kayla Karbonik is only 17 and has already had two concussions.

Her first was at age 12, when her head went up against the boards.

“The ice was moving so I really couldn’t focus on where it was going. It was pretty scary,” said Karbonik. “All the parents had to come help me off the ice.”

Karbonik was happy to hear about the new centre.

“People can finally know what is going on in their head,” she said. “People can help them in the direction to how to get better.”

The clinic is expected to open this fall. 

with files from CBC