They shoot. They score! There’s good news for hockey families across the country. Hockey Canada’s decision to ban body checking at the Peewee level (players ages 11 and 12) is working. Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that since the ban took effect in 2013, the number of on-ice injuries, especially concussions, has dropped.
The study found a 50% drop in all injuries and a two-thirds reduction in concussions meaning hundreds of kids each year avoid a trip to the emergency room and the pain of a long recovery.
Canada’s national sport has taken a bit of a beating from critics saying the sport has become too violent, too dangerous, and too focused on heavy hits. While derided by some (including the always vocal Don Cherry) who believe a ban leads to more severe injuries, the Peewee body check ban was welcomed by many who prefer a safer game. The reduction in injuries is welcomed by parents of pre-teen players worried about their child’s health and well-being.
Brain injuries suffered during a child’s formative years are far more serious than those later in life. With the brain still growing and developing, a heavy hit can have serious long term effects.
If your child does get hurt on the ice, get them out of the game and check to see if they are ok. Any symptom of a concussion means a visit to the doctor. Your little Gretzkys and Wickenheisers may not be happy about it, but his or her brain will thank you for it in the end.