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Canadian doctor recommends major change to youth hockey, and you aren't going to like it


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Josh tupper
October 2, 2022  (12:56)
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Hockey is built into the fabric of most Canadian families. Whether you play recreational, competitive or just for fun with your friends, Canadians love the sport. It's our National sport and hundreds of thousands of kids grow up playing the sport they love.

But prominent neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Tator, is questioning the rules and how we let children play the game. In a recent interview with Rick Westhead of TSN, Dr. Tator had this to say about checking in hockey.
The brains of 16- and 17-year-old hockey players are still too vulnerable. We are seeing that too many players are suffering the effects of brain trauma from permitted bodychecking, and in some cases, the symptoms can be there forever.

There is a common misconception that introducing bodychecking at an early age can help prevent injuries such as concussion by ensuring that children are skilled in how to withstand a bodycheck, when in fact there is no data to support this.

Youth hockey leagues should raise the age of permissible bodychecking to 18 from the current age of 13-14. We show the potential to prevent 85 per cent of bodycheck-caused concussions by raising the permissible bodychecking age from its current age of 13-14 to 18 years of age. There is also the potential to eliminate years of suffering from bodycheck-induced PCS.

According to Dr. Tator there is no supporting evidence that teaching children to check when they're younger prevents injury. But any hockey coach or parent will tell you that they've safely taught children the ins and outs of physical play. As someone who grew up playing hockey, the most dangerous players were those who didn't know how to throw a proper check.
The idea of removing checking until the age of 18 would dramatically alter the way junior hockey is player in Canada. It would ban 15, 16 and 17 year olds from any major junior activity.
I think we can all agree we want hockey to be safer for everyone, but removing checking isn't the answer. Teaching players to play safer, hit cleaner and advancing equipment should be the first priority, while also educating coaches, parents and officials on the signs of potential head injuries to help avoid more advanced head injuries.
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2 OCTOBRE   |   1 ANSWERS
Canadian doctor recommends major change to youth hockey, and you aren't going to like it

What age should players be taught to bodycheck?

12-1400 %
15-1600 %
18 and older00 %
Earlier than 1200 %
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