Concussion summit set to start in London, Ont.
Conference chair says event is first of its kind
On Saturday, experts and players will descend on London, Ont., to shine a spotlight on hockey's most under-reported injury.
The London Hockey Concussion Summit will be a day-long discussion of the debilitating injury. Dr. Paul Echlin, the summit chair, hopes that it will help people open up and speak more on the issue.
"I don't think anybody else has seen such a group of experts and professional hockey players get together and talk about this in an open matter, which is what it needs," he told Our Game in December. Echlin is a junior hockey doctor who practices sports medicine in the city.
Echlin will be joined, among others, by OHL and WHL consultant Dr. Michael Czarnota, who will discuss concussions in minor hockey, and Dr. Jason Mihalik of the University of North Carolina, who will talk about data from the recent multi-centred youth concussion study.
Nine experts will speak at the London summit, but they're not the only ones who will voice their opinions.
Former NHLers Eric Lindros, Alyn McCaulay, and Jeff Beukeboom will speak about the effects concussions had on their careers.
"It's not just a medical meeting," Echlin said.
Jennifer Botterill will also speak at the summit. She's a two-time Olympic gold medalist from the Canadian national women's team who has suffered effects from concussions. Mark Moore, a former pro player who also had his career cut short by the injury, will also talk.
And Mike Van Ryn, the Toronto Maple Leaf defenceman who was just sidelined by a concussion himself, is reportedly attending as well to learn more about his injury. This is exactly what Eclin's hoping to come out of the summit-more education.
He says concussion treatment in hockey needs to change, and the only way to do that is to help people learn more about the injury.
"All the entities need to work as a team to identify and protect these young people in our society," Echlin says. "They have lives after hockey, but still everybody turns their head to this issue. We can no longer look away."