Posted On: May 9, 2013 by John McKiggan

Hockey Canada insurance doesn't cover concussions! Say what?

As a personal injury lawyer I have seen many examples of the dangers of brain injuries in sports. In particular I have written about the potential lasting effects that brain injuries can have on child athletes. See for example:

Sudden Impact: Liability for Sports Related Concussions

Brain Injuries: Minor Hockey Players 10x More Likely to Suffer Brain Injuries

Brain Injury Myth #6 - Children Recover Quickly From Brain Injuries

Everybody knows that concussions are dangerous right? Everybody knows that kids who play hockey can suffer concussions right? Hockey Canada has even created a Concussion Awareness App for parents.

Hockey Canada provides insurance for all it's players to cover injuries they may suffer while playing.

While Hockey Canada is aware of the fact that your child may suffer a brain injury while playing hockey, the organization actually doesn't insure against concussions or brain injuries.

This is surprising considering the recent attention concussions and their consequences have been garnering from the media. According to an article in The Province, a Toronto study of children injured between 1990 and 2009 found that hockey accounted for approximately 45% of the brain injuries.

But if your child suffers a crippling brain injury while playing hockey, they will not be covered under their Hockey Canada insurance policy.

What is covered?

The Hockey Canada information guide to their insurance coverage “Safety Requires Teamwork” is available here:

The guide lists the following as injuries that are covered under the policy:

For Loss Of:

Life …………………………….. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 25,000
Entire sight of both eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 50,000
One hand and sight of one eye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 45,000
Speech and hearing in both ears .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 45,000
Sight of one eye. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 35,000
Speech or hearing in both ears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 30,000

For Loss Of, Or Loss Of Use Of:

Both hands or both feet or both legs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 45,000
One hand and one foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 45,000
One armor one leg …. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 30,000
One hand or one foot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 30,000

Critical Incidence Stress Counselling:

Off-ice maximum per incident
Per insured: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 2,000
For all insureds: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 10,000
On-ice maximum per incident: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 25,000

For Paralysis of:

All four limbs (Quadriplegia).. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1,000,000
Both Lower Limbs (Paraplegia) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 1,000,000
One arm and leg on the same side of the body (Hemiplegia) . . . . . . $ 1,000,000

So why aren't brain injuries being covered? According to the Hockey Canada handbook, “...many times the desired coverage is simply unaffordable.”

I have many friends whose children play hockey. i would be willing to bet that most have no idea that their children are not insured for one of the most common injuries that children suffer while playing hockey.

I understand that the cost of insuring against concussion or other types of brain injuries may be expensive. But how much is too much to pay to cover our children’s brains?

If your child is playing a sport where there is almost a 50% chance they are going to suffer a brain injury, shouldn't parents be told about the lack of coverage and, at the very least, be given the opportunity to purchase optional coverage?


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