Mandatory Helmets for Recreational Ice Skaters: Brain Injury Prevention

by John McKiggan

I noticed an interesting story in the latest newsletter from the Brain Injury Association of Canada
Hockey Helmets Mandatory for All Skaters

Dalhousie’s Memorial Arena is introducing a new rule that comes into effect January 1, 2010 that will require all skaters to wear CSA-approved hockey helmets during all skating sessions held at Dalhousie.

Skating More Dangerous than Bicycling or Skateboarding

Under Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act, wearing a helmet is mandatory for biclists, skateboarders and in-line skaters. But there is no law that requires skaters to wear helmets.

But studies have shown that ice skating produces three times more head injuries than cycling, skateboarding or inline skating.

Ice skating is particularly dangerous because when a person loses his or her balance on ice, there is often impact of the head directly on the hard surface.

Helmets Just “Common Sense”

Dr. David B. Clarke, is a Dalhousie professor and one of the leading neurosurgeons in the province. he was quoted as saying:

“Wearing a helmet while skating in order to protect your brain is supported by research and also just makes common sense. We want people to enjoy this wonderful activity and, at the same time, we want people to protect their brains. I am delighted that Dalhousie is taking a leadership role on this issue…”

Kathie Wheadon-Hore, Senior Manager, Facility Operations for Dalhousie’s Department of Athletics and Recreational Services said:

“We have to do this. Even if this helps save one person, if it helps save one of our students, then it’s worth it in my opinion.”

I suspect the rule change may be unpopular with the students and public that use Memorial Arena. But as a Brain Injury Lawyer, I have seen first hand the devastating effects that brain injuries can have and I applaud Dalhousie for it’s progressive approach to head injury prevention.

So what do you think? Is the helmet rule a good idea?

If you or a family member have suffered an injury which you think may have resulted in a mild traumatic brain injury and you are looking for a Nova Scotia brain injury lawyer you can contact me through this blog or by calling toll free (877) 423-2050 for a free copy of my book: The Survivor’s Guide to Traumatic Brain Injury Claims.

2 Responses to “Mandatory Helmets for Recreational Ice Skaters: Brain Injury Prevention”

December 31, 1969 at 6:00 pm, John said:

Sorry, but the helmet rule is ridiculous. I use to frequently go skating with a group of people in halifax, and now that has come to an end. No one wants to go out and buy a hockey helmet for a quick recreational skate once a week. We’re adults here, we know the risks of skating and we’re capable of deciding whether or not we require a helmet. This is public skating we’re talking about. Sure if you lose your balance you’ll hit your head on a hard surface, but the same thing happens when you’re doing nearly every other activity, such as ‘walking’. If it’s a liability issue, have people sign a paper before they step out on the ice, or put up a sign. I’m sick of all the BS laws that are enforced, which should rather be up to the individual. We’re losing fun activities and choices every year. It’s a shame, and you’re left with a bunch of people that just sit around on the couch everyday. I guess they don’t have to worry about bumping their head though.

December 31, 1969 at 6:00 pm, alan said:

You can pick up a helmet for less than fifty bucks. It’s worth it. If you don’t want one, don’t get one, but don’t expect the likes of me to maintain you in your vegetative state after you smash your head on the ice.

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