25% of Junior Hockey Players Suffer Brain Injuries: Ontario Medical Study

by John McKiggan

According to a medical study released in Toronto on Monday, 25% of junior hockey players on the two teams that were the subject of the study suffered concussions (minor traumatic brain injuries) last year.

One of the co-authors of this study, Dr. Paul Echlin called the results “alarming”.

Multiple Injuries

Echlin said that 29% of the players studied who had a concussion ended up suffering from multiple concussions.

The authors point to the United States where 9 states have passed laws making concussion education mandatory for players, coaches and parents. Those states also require players to have a doctor’s letter before they can return to play.

More Leadership Needed

One of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Michael Cusimano wants to see Hockey Canada, the NHL and minor hockey leagues around the country to show more leadership regarding the issue of concussion prevention:

“This is a time we need real leadership because this season there is going to be at least 15,000 to 20,000 kids who suffer concussions needlessly … giving a two minute penalty or one game suspension is going to do nothing.”

The Canadian medical study, called The Hockey Education Concussion Project determined that athletes were suffering concussions at a rate 3 times higher than previously thought.

The study highlights the need for greater education to help athletes, coaches and parents identify the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury.


Dr. Echlin suggested that concussions are: “occurring at epidemic proportions”.

Tip of the Iceberg

Echlin pointed out that the number of concussions being diagnosed is likely just the tip of the iceberg. He said:

“Those are conservative numbers because of those who have not come forward or those undiagnosed”.

Does Peer Pressure Play a Part?

There is a tremendous culture in sports to “shake it off” and return to play. Athletes are afraid to admit they are hurt because they don’t want to loose playing time. Coaches don’t want to lose star players and parents don’t realize the risks that their children are facing.

What Do You Think?

Are parents, players and coaches ignoring the problem or do they just not realize the risk they are running?

What do you think needs to be done? Let me know in the comments.

Want more information? Contact me through this blog and ask for a free copy of my book, The Survivor’s Guide to Brain Injury Claims: How to prove the invisible injury.

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