Tuesday February 04, 2014

New study shows concussions in hockey change young players brains

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The Hockey Concussion Education Project analyzed the brains of male and female varsity hockey players and found disturbing evidence of early brain changes that could be the first signs of long term pathologies and cognitive deficits. (CP/Sean Kilpatrick)

The notorious hit on Canada's hockey darling on Sidney Crosby back in 2011 sparked a national conversation about head injuries in hockey. But head injuries aren't just hurting the pros and new research out today suggests there's a relationship between concussions in young players and cognitive deficits that show up later in life.

"With the way the game is played today, the speed the game's played at, there's modifications to the helmets, to the way we hit. Proper teaching our kids to give a body check,to receive a body check, eliminate head checks will all be things that will hopefully be eliminated from the game as we move forward."

Graham Wise, Head coach for Ryerson Ram's Men's Hockey team

Victor Terreri is a 22-year-old political science student. He plays right wing for the Ryerson Rams. At his team practice yesterday, he told us he's had more than one concussion.

New research released today finds the effects of those concussions linger long after the week a player sits out. The Hockey Concussion Education Project analyzed the brains of male and female varsity hockey players and found disturbing evidence of early brain changes that could be the first signs of long term pathologies and cognitive deficits.



Our next two guests agree that hockey concussions are a real concern across all levels of the game -- but say that efforts are being made to reduce head injuries.

  • Phil Currie is the Executive Director of Atlantic University Sport, which governs varsity athletics -- including hockey -- at member schools in Atlantic Canada. He was in Halifax.

  • Todd Jackson is the Senior Manager of Insurance and Member Services with Hockey Canada, the governing body for amateur level hockey. We reached him in Ottawa.

Have thoughts to share? Do you think the rules in hockey should change based on this discussion?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Idella Sturino.