New research published in the journal PLOS ONE showed recent changes in hockey rules regulating contact to the head have not reduced the number of concussions suffered by athletes during the National Hockey League (NHL) season. The authors of the study compared reports of hockey players enduring concussions in the NHL before and after rules, which regulated head contact, were changed in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The research was conducted by Michael Cusimano, MD, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues from the Injury Prevention Research Office, also at St. Michael's Hospital.
Based on official game records and team injury reports, the authors discovered that the number of NHL concussions or concussion-like head injuries in 2009-10 were lower than in the 2010-11, as well as later, seasons. The results of the study revealed that 64% of the concussions were caused by body-checking and only 28% were caused by illegal incidents.
The study's authors conclude that rules regulating body-checking to the head did not reduce the number of NHL players suffering concussions. As such, the authors suggest additional changes or stricter enforcement of existing rules may be needed to further reduce the risk of head injuries for these professional athletes.
Source: PLOS ONE