Recent changes in hockey rules regulating contact to the head have not reduced the number of concussions suffered by players during National Hockey League (NHL) season, according to research published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Michael Cusimano and colleagues from the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael’s Hospital, Canada.
The authors compared reports of hockey players suffering concussions in the National Hockey League (NHL) before and after rules regulating head contact were changed in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Based on official game records and team injury reports, the authors found that the number of NHL concussions or concussion-like head injuries in 2009-10 were lower than in the 2010-11 and later seasons. Sixty-four percent of the concussions were caused by body-checking, while only 28% were caused by illegal incidents.
The authors conclude that rules regulating body-checking to the head did not reduce the number of players suffering concussions, so additional changes or stricter enforcement of existing rules may be required to reduce the risk of these injuries further.
Citation: Donaldson L, Asbridge M, Cusimano MD (2013) Bodychecking Rules and Concussion in Elite Hockey. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69122. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069122
Financial Disclosure: This research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Team Grant in Applied Injury Research # TIR-103946, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, as well as University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine CREMS funding to LD. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069122