Concussions and the NHL

There was nothing very surprising to be found in those internal NHL e-mails on concussion that were published by a Minnesota court. A fragment of denial, a bit of concession. And, plenty of confusion about the short and long-term consequences of head trauma.

I didn’t even mind that Kris King took at “the Charles Tators of the world.” That goes with the territory if you’re going to talk on serious issues.

However, what pleased me was the mention that the league had been operating with two corporate sponsors on a concussion-education video for young hockey players and their coaches. That would have to be the video made at the Parachute Canada National Injury Prevention Program that was done with the financial support of CCM Reebok and Scotiabank. You can find it at parachutecanada.org.

What is well-defined in reading through those reports from TSN and the New York Times is that the NHL was knowledgeable of the problem. It is very clear that it has chosen to deal with it only somewhat. You might certainly take painkillers for a broken arm, but painkillers can’t set the bone.

The league has clearly been aware of the growing fears over head injuries, mainly repetitive trauma to the head. The proof is in the pudding that it did some partial injury protection. There has evidently been less fighting in the NHL. That’s a good thing. If the concussion problem had not come along, then I think fighting may even have increased, as the trend to have assigned “thugs” in the lineup had become a given.

So it’s proper and right to say that some good has come from this continuing discussion. There has been some attention given to the issue by the league. We “Charles Tators of the world” would just like to see a little more.