University of Ottawa welcomes hockey leaders to first summit on concussions

OTTAWA, February 23, 2011 — Hockey leaders are meeting in Ottawa today to talk about sport safety, particularly concussions.

As part of this first summit, representatives of major hockey organizations, including the NHL, Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation, will discuss concussions with experts such as Professor Blaine Hoshizaki, PhD, from the School of Human Kinetics at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, whose research into head injuries suffered by athletes is recognized worldwide. Together, they will try to better understand the major injuries suffered by hockey players, so as to reduce their frequency.

The summit is all the more pressing given the recent admission by Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby that he might not play for the rest of the season because of a brain injury sustained from a massive blow to the head.

In the morning, participants will have an opportunity to visit the Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory run by Professor Hoshizaki, where Crosby’s injury will be recreated through crash-test analyses. Having seen this hit isolated in a lab setting, they will be in a position to look at current issues in hockey safety and identify areas for improvement, such as the performance of protective helmets.

“The results are dramatic and frustrating,” says Professor Hoshizaki. “No matter what make or model of helmet Crosby was wearing, and no matter how much it met or exceeded safety standards, the current equipment isn’t built to protect players specifically from concussions. We want to change that.”

Professor Hoshizaki and his team of young scientists who run the elite lab are in a good position to make change happen because no one else in the world is researching this question in this way and to this extent. All of this research promises a dramatic leap forward in the understanding of concussions, knowledge that is crucial to organizations like the NHL, which may finally know exactly what kinds of hits are most dangerous and be able to revisit the rules of the game.

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Last updated: 2010.02.08