Starting in the new year, adults will have to wear helmets just like these preschoolers. ((CBC))

Next month, a Halifax skating rink will be the first in Nova Scotia to require all skaters to wear helmets, regardless of age.

The upcoming change at Dalhousie Memorial Arena was prompted by a local neurosurgeon who wants to prevent head injuries.

"These are injuries that have lifelong potential implications," Dr. David Clarke told CBC News. "The brain is the essence of who we are and when it's injured it sometimes doesn't recover to its full potential."

Clarke said he only sees a fraction of patients with such injuries. Many more show up in emergency rooms to be treated for injuries such as concussions.

Kathie Wheadon-Hore, manager of the Dalhousie arena, said there have been two serious brain injuries at the rink.

"A lot of people don't think they're gonna fall, but they could. And if you have ever experienced a brain injury you would understand what we're talking about. A small impact, 7-10 km/h, can change your life forever," she said.

Under the new policy, which takes effect Jan. 1, all helmets must be certified by the Canadian Standards Association. These helmets range in price from $50 to $200.

Wheadon-Hore said Dalhousie is willing to accept a drop in profits if the new rule keeps skaters away. Over time, she said, it's hoped that other arenas adopt the same policy.