Concussions in hockey: there is cause for concern

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Dec;33(12):2004-9. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200112000-00005.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to document various aspects of concussion in Canadian Amateur hockey including demographics, causes, treatment, and prevention in order to guide future recommendations on how to reduce injury.

Methods: A detailed prospective and retrospective concussion history was obtained from British Columbia Junior Hockey League players over the course of two seasons (1998-2000).

Results: Higher rates of concussions occur in games versus practice, and there was an overrepresentation of forwards injured versus defensemen or goaltenders. There was between 4.63 and 5.95 concussions per 1000 player/game hours with the average age of the first hockey-related concussion in the 15th year. The greatest cause of concussion was contact with the ice and/or the boards. Fighting was not a major cause of concussion, although other illegal actions such as elbowing were.

Conclusions: The primary recommendation to reduce the number and severity of concussions is to eliminate plays where there is a demonstrable intent to injure another player. Concussions in hockey are of considerable concern; however, there is now encouraging information with respect to the treatment of these injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / prevention & control
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Causality
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Hockey / injuries*
  • Hockey / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Recurrence
  • Sports Equipment
  • Unconsciousness / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / prevention & control