Mayo Clinic's 2010 "Ice Hockey Summit on Concussion: A Call to Action" has resulted in a "call to action" from Mayo sports medicine experts and publication this month (July 2011) in several journals.
I note that even the summit includes the word concussion, rather than "brain injury." Whenever you read the word concussion, you should translate that to its true meaning: Brain injury.
Every concussion is, in fact, a brain injury.
"Hockey is unique from other contact sports. It is a skilled, fast and exciting game, but the frequent collisions, rigid boards, sticks and puck contribute to risk of injury. Younger players need to first develop their skills, and those who administer the game must strive to minimize injury risk— especially to the brain," a Mayo announcement quotes Dr. Michael Stuart chief medical officer of USA Hockey, and a health provider at Mayo's Sports Medicine Center here in Rochester, Minnesota.
Mayo's call to action, developed during the summit of experts who included players, athletic trainers, coaches, neurologists and association representatives, includes:
• Mandate education for coaches, parents, players and officials.
• Eliminate head contact.
• Teach body contact and checking at younger age levels, but postpone body checking in games until age 13.
• Collect concussion data using a consistent, hockey-specific definition in well-designed studies.
A report on the summit's findings appear in several journals this month, including: Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Current Sports Medicine Reports, American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Sports Medicine Bulletin, PM&R, and PhyzForum, according to Mayo.
Wide dissemination of the information is important, the clinic reports, because of its wide public health importance and pertinence to multiple medical specialties.
"Mayo Clinic in Arizona this summer began making baseline concussion testing available at no cost to more than 100,000 high school student athletes in Arizona, leading up to the 2011-12 sports season," the clinic noted.
Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel