The body checking that is so much a part of ice hockey could prove dangerous for youths whose brains are still developing, according to a new study.
As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is a three-fold rise in severe injuries, including mild to severe concussions, in youth hockey leagues where body checking is permitted. http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/08/youth-hockey-players-too-young-to-body-check/
The study followed a Canadian youth hockey league where body checking, defined by Webster’s as “the fair block of an opponent who has the puck by bumping with the body, shoulder to hip, from the front or side,” is allowed.
In a blog CNN medical producer Stephanie Smith interviewed David Hovda, who is director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. He warned that repeated blows to the head in hockey can injure a youth’s developng brain and hinder its potential growth.
The idea is not that we ban 11-year-olds from playing hockey, but that we try to limit their exposure to potential concussions. In other words, no body checking.